Whist Grist

Andrew-Zirkle-Mill-sign-WM-Tucked in the rolling hills of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, a grist mill rests from nearly two centuries of toil. Now silent, it stands as a reminder the essential milling of the yearly grain harvest for family farmers who in turn fed the nation with bread, the staff of life. A roadside marker gives a brief history of the Andrew Zirkle Grist Mill.


Water no longer rushes through the mill race to spin a wooden water wheel and power the giant millstones that forced wheat berries into fine flour.

Mill Race

Mill Race

One can almost hear the splash of falling water and feel the rhythmic heart beat of whirling gears and stone that ran from dawn to dusk.

Andrew-Zirkle-Mill-water-whShafts, gears, and stones, their useful days ended, now lay cold under a blanket of dust in an open shed.

Andrew-Zirkle-Mill-shed-WM-Closed, but in company of river and stately walnut trees, the well-preserved structure stands for curious admirers to wonder over hand-hewn wood and stone so expertly placed in generations past.

Andrew-Zirkle-Mill-rear-sidWhat souls trod these grounds? What millers’ skill drew wagons grain-laden from near and far?


Settle on the grass and ponder this: Is it truly progress that feeds us faux fare that can not sustain? Have we come so far from the miller’s craft that we have lost the life-giving goodness of bread made close to the field with flour warm from the grist mill stone? I wonder.

7 thoughts on “Whist Grist

  1. I love these old mills and wish I could travel back in time to witness what life was like back then. Yes, life was much harder than our modern time, but I do think these days we sometimes miss out on the goodness of simpler times. I’m glad this historic masterpiece is still around for us to admire.

    • I am saving the “fall color” for a future post. Thank you for your comment. I find historical places fascinating and find myself longing for a simpler, albeit labor intensive, time.

    • Thank you for your comment, Lawyer Chick. I’m sure that wherever you are there are some gorgeous scenes. In some places they just require a bit of searching out. ; D

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