Photo credit: Compton , 06/14/1978

Property Name: Avondale Mill
Date Listed: 9/20/1979
Inventory No.: PG:LAU-4
Location: 21, Avondale Street, Laurel, Prince Georges County

Description: The Avondale Mill was a large gable-front stone structure, three stories in height, and 10 bays long by three wide. The walls were constructed of uncoursed rubble with roughly worked granite quoins. The windows had 6/6 sash with granite lintels, and the eaves were finished with a simple boxed cornice. The south gable end was the original front of the mill. The central bay had a door at grade on the second level, and there was a window in each flanking bay. There were three windows in the third story and a single window in the gable end in the attic. After the 1930s, the first story of this facade was covered by an addition. The east facade was ten bays long, with a short expanse of blank wall at either end, and three stories high. Windows on this side were also 6/6 sash with granite lintels. Some had been replaced with louvered panels, and some with doors. The north gable end, facing the river, was three bays wide, and was stone on the first two stories and brick above. Some of the windows on this end had also been replaced with louvers or smaller windows. The third floor wall was constructed of brick, but the granite quoins at the corners were continued. Windows in the brick portion had flat brick arches. There was a single window in the gable. The west facade was 12 bays wide. On the first floor, all original windows had been removed, some replaced with louvered panels and some enclosed with concrete block. The second and third floors retaied the original 6/6 sash windows. A 1907 photograph of the mill shows a dormer window and small interior chimneys on the west roof slope, and an octagonal cupola on the ridgeline at the south gable end. On the interior, wood beams, 8 feet on center, measuring 10 by 15 inches, spanned east-west to delineate each bay. These were supported on the first story by chamfered wood columns, and on the second by Doric columns. There were no columns on the third story where the beams were the bottom chords of king post trusses. Walls were plastered directly on the stone, and the splayed window jambs were finished with plaster, devoid of wood trim. Under the northern two bays of the first story was a subcellar nearly filled with water. The function of this room is unclear, but it was probably related to the original power system, quite likely the location of turbines. No milling machinery or power apparatus remained. A devastating fire on December 19, 1991, destroyed the mill. The remains were then demolished and the site cleared.

Significance: Avondale Mill, on the bank of the Patuxent River in the city of Laurel, was constructed in 1844-45. At that time it was provided with the machinery for the manufacture of fine cotton cloth, running 1500 spindles. It was converted to a grist mill ten years later. At the time of listing on the National Register in 1979, the Avondale Mill was the only mill structure of its size and fabric remaining in the Laurel vicinity, and was a link to the economic history of the city and a substantial structure capable of adaptive use. Prince George's County has been throughout its history an agricultural rather than an industrial area. Most of the industrial activity was in the northeastern part of the county, that closest to Howard County, a well known milling center. Laurel in the 19th century was a prosperous mill town with the largest population of any town in the county. Avondale Mill was the only one of Laurel's 19th century mills to have survived so long.




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