MHT File Photo
Hitt's Mill and Houses
Keedysville Road, Keedysville, Washington County
Hitt's Mill is a five-story stone and brick structure built as a grist mill. The ground story which is exposed on the south or creek side, and the first full story above ground level are constructed of coursed limestone. The upper stories are built of bricks laid in common bond at all elevations. Stone foundations extend to the east of the mill along the edge of the creek. An outline of a gable from an adjoining structure said to have been a sawmill can be seen on the east elevation of the mill. Openings on the ground-story level have segmentally arched openings supported by carefully cut stone voussoirs. Windows in the mill have 6/6 sash. Large wooden lintels top the door and windows in the brick section. The remains of the mill dam are extant just upstream from the mill. Also on the property are the ruins of a small log house, the foundations of a structure said to have been a cobbler's shop, and a two-story, six-bay log house sheathed with weatherboards. The Hitt House is the main house for the complex, and stands immediately north of the log dwelling. It is a two-story, five-bay log house on a low fieldstone foundation, with a two-story four-bay wing lower in height than the main section. The walls of both sections are covered with German siding and composition brick. Some older weatherboarding with a bead at the lower edge can also be seen. Windows have been replaced with 2/2 sash, and the main entrance, in the center bay of the front elevation, holds a six-paneled door under a four-light transom. A one-story shed-roofed porch covers the front elevation of the main section and art of the wing. The rear of the wing has a one-story porch. Large corbeled brick chimneys are located inside each gable end. Plain boxing finishes the eaves. Just south of the house is a square log outbuilding with a hipped roof covered with wooden shingles, and southwest of the house is a large frame bank barn and part of a fieldstone barnyard fence. Several hundred feet north of the house is evidence of an old road which predated the present Keedysville-Bakersville Road between the Antietam Creek and Keedysville.
The Hitt's Mill Complex is significant for its architecture and its contribution to local commerce and the milling industry. Architecturally, the Hitt's Mill complex represents the three major construction traditions in the Cumberland Valley and Western Maryland with the use of log, stone, and brick in the buildings present. Log as employed in the dwellings was an important construction material popular from the earliest days of settlement in the 18th century to the early 20th century. The Hitt House is interesting as a relatively large example of log construction in Washington County. Although the exact building date of this structure has not been determined, it would appear to date from the late 18th century or very early 19th century. The other log house in this nomination, on the south side of the road, was built in two parts. The interior woodwork of the western portion suggests a construction date during the second quarter of the 19th century, while that employed in the eastern portion is of a type associated with the later 19th century. Stone construction was employed in the lower stories of the mill. The masonry work appears to be of high quality, particularly as seen in the arch construction toward the base of the south wall. The upper stories of the mill were added later, after part of the original structure was destroyed by fire. This brick portion appears to date from the mid-19th century. Operating as a grist mill, presumably with an attached sawmill, the Hitt's or Pry's Mill Complex is important for its contribution to commerce and to the milling industry in Washington County. It is also important for its association with the nearby Civil War Battle of Antietam, and for social and humanitarian concerns since the mill and the Hitt house served as hospitals during and after the battle. The complex is significant, additionally, for its association with the Hitt family. Three brothers, Martin, Daniel, and Samuel, all ministers, were influential in the development of Methodism in the early republic. Samuel M. Hitt, son of Martin, established the mill, an important commercial establishment, at this site in the early 19th century.