Shepherdstown Cement Mill
On December 21, 2011, West Virginia Delegate John Doyle and the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission announced that the Landmarks Commission completed the purchase of the historic Cement Mill property. The property is an 18 acre site on the Potomac River. The property contains structures from an 1829 Cement Mill that was the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in Jefferson County and is also part of the site of the 1862 Battle of Shepherdstown. The structures include the ruins of the mill, six kilns on the bank of the river, a large kiln south of River Road and the remnants of an office building. Some of the kilns on the river show damage from Union artillery shells sustained during the Battle of Shepherdstown.
"This is an important acquisition for Jefferson County," stated John C. Allen Jr., Chairman of the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission, "not only is the property historic, it will provide public access to the Potomac River for recreational purposes. We plan on enlisting community help in the spring to help clean up the site and begin creating trails. It is the intention of the Landmarks Commission to place a conservation easement on the property to insure that it remain undeveloped in perpetuity. Also, we will apply for inclusion in the National Registry of Historic Places. The Commission intends to begin the process whereby ultimately the site will be deeded to the Antietam National Battlefield Park."
"Many historians regard the site of the Battle of Shepherdstown as the end of the Battle of Antietam or certainly the end of Robert E. Lee's Maryland Campaign of September 1862," said Ed Dunleavy, President of the Shepherdstown Battle Preservation Association Inc. (SBPA), " the Battle of Shepherdstown was fought on September 19 and 20, 1862 and was one of the reasons that Lee ended his campaign and retreated up the Shenandoah Valley. SBPA has been working for the last 8 years attempting to save battlefield land and this purchase now means that 102 acres have been saved. SBPA brought the idea of purchasing the site to the County more than two and half years ago," added Dunleavy," and it is gratifying that the Landmarks Commission was willing to spend the time and energy in a long and arduous negotiating process."
The site was purchased for $375,000 from a private individual whose family owned it for more than 100 years. The funds used to purchase the land came from two $100,000 West Virginia Transportation Enhancement Grants garnered by SBPA for the County with $50,000 in matching funds from the Civil War Trust (CWT). When it became apparent that the owner was willing to sell the property additional funds were sought and the CWT, the Save Historic Antietam Foundation, SBPA provided those funds. However late last week $25,000 was still needed to purchase the property. Delegate John Doyle was able to successfully request those funds from West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.
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