Still on vacation, but I couldn't resist making a post about this. On the way out of DC today we took a bit of a detour and ended up passing by George Washington's grist mill and distillery.
Not knowing anything about it we stopped on a lark, and I'm very glad we did. The distillery was interesting, but the mill really blew me away. Fully operational dual millstone system, run from a nice ~3 meter backshot water wheel. It includes two elevators and a very slick set of sifting and drying mechanisms for partial automation of the process, all of which were part of the original 18th century mill on the site.
The whole thing is stunningly beautiful. The building felt alive while the mill was running, in a way that a primarily metal-based system would be hard to match. Drive shafts crossed the entire building, and large belts drove some of the smaller mechanisms. The workings were taken from an 1818 mill, though the wood cogs are of course much newer. There was an old set piled in one corner, with their teeth worn almost clean through. The old wrought iron linkage rods and even the bolt heads had worn designs stamped into them by some bored smith all those years ago.
(Random flickr images; my camera was acting up today. The others in the collection are nice, too!)