Points of Interest on the Blue Ridge Parkway x Historic Mabry Mill
Just 15 miles from camp on the Blue Ridge Parkway is stop worth taking. Introducing Mabry Mill which has been churning water into power since 1903. Not only is it a great place to stop to get a taste of the history, you’ll get a taste of the local cuisine too with their on site restaurant that serves up some damn good food.
Ed Mabry was one of the fifth generation of Mabrys to live in this part of Virginia. Floyd County not far from the mill. On March 22, 1782 his great-great grandfather Isaac Mabry received a grant for 183 acres of land on Mayberry Creek.
Before 1890, Ed had a water-turned lathe, which he used to make chairs. He later worked as a blacksmith in the coal fields of West Virginia. In 1903 he returned to Floyd County and soon began construction of the mill. It was first a blacksmith and wheelwright shop, then became a sawmill. By 1905 it was in operation as a gristmill. By 1910 the front part of the mill was completed and included a lathe for turning out wheel hubs, a tongue and groove lathe, a planer, and a jigsaw. Between 1905 and 1914 he bought adjacent tracts of land, mostly for the purpose of acquiring more water power. Those who knew Ed Mabry thought well of him and have described him as peaceable, easy-going, honest, hard working, a Primitive Baptist, and a Republican. Whatever he needed he tried to make himself, including most of the furniture in his home. He did not travel much, but when he did it was either on foot or in his one-horse Concord wagon. Ed Mabry’s legacy lives on reflecting the self-sufficiency and hard work of our ancestors on the Blue Ridge.
Hot Tip: There is a restaurant at the mill that serves up some damn good collard greens and mac & cheese. The Mill is open to tour for free and has rangers on site in full 1900’s garb that will talk to you about the milling process.