MHT File Photo
St. Michaels Mill
100, Chew Avenue, St. Michaels, Talbot County
The St. Michaels Mill is a c. 1890 brick mill structure with a large early-20th century frame storage addition, a 1931 shed-roofed brick addition, and a 1934 shed-roofed frame addition. In appearance the mill resembles other industrial buildings of the late 19th century. However, its size more closely resembles that of the grist mills of earlier times on the Eastern Shore. The 12" walls of the building are laid in common bond, with seven courses of stretchers to one course of headers. On the northeast and southwest sides of the structure there is a three-course corbeled cornice. Above the Chew Avenue windows are brick segmental arches; the other windows have wood lintels. The Chew Avenue facade is two bays wide and has a central entrance with diagonal batten double doors. The sill of the doors is located about four feet above grade. On the southwest wall of the old gristmill, between the first and second stories, are four diamond shaped plates of iron for tie rods. The fenestration is a uniform three bays on the basement and first stories, while the second story has only two windows above the central and southeast windows. On the southeast side of the building, jutting out 7’-6" beyond the face of the old brick mill is the brick, two-bay shed-roofed powerhouse. The powerhouse extends over a portion of the bin area; the remainder of the tall portion and the bins are covered with tin as are the other two sides. The interior of the old brick mill is one large space on each story, housing a working complement of late-19th and early-20th century milling equipment.
The Saint Michaels Mill is historically significant for two reasons. First, in the areas of commerce and industry, the mill was an integral part of the culture of the town. In its 50 years of operation, it provided some steady employment for a small town otherwise dependent on the vagaries of the water. The mill was also the center of a commercial cycle in a tri-county area, as well as an operation whose product, "Just Right Flour", reached many markets. Secondly, the mill, built in 1890, is a good example of small late 19th century industrial architecture on Maryland's Eastern Shore. In addition, the milling equipment is original to the structure, largely intact, and completely operative. The intricate interrelationship of the workings of this old mill and the amazingly good repair in which they are found combine with the solidity and balance of the structure to present an operation whose preservation is of merit. Add these factors to the part that the mill has played in the commercial history of what is now a rapidly changing community, and the importance of insuring the safety of the structure, as well as acknowledging its significance, increases.