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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Jennifer K. Cosham, 04/12/2006
McKinstry's Mill Historic District
Inventory No.: CARR-1486
Date Listed: 4/16/1997
Location: Union Bridge, Carroll County
Category: District
Period/Date of Construction: 1814-1915
Description: The McKinstry's Mills Historic District comprises the entirety of the settlement of McKinstry's Mills, located on Sam's Creek, the border between Carroll and Frederick Counties, Maryland. The 26-acre hamlet consists of six separate properties that were owned and developed in the 19th century by the McKinstry family, local millers. The focus of the settlement is the grist mill, a 3 1/2-story, five-bay by three-bay frame building with a rubble stone lower story, constructed in 1844 to replace an earlier mill. The community also includes the McKinstry homestead, established c. 1825-35; the residence of miller Samuel McKinstry, dated 1849; a store building of 1850; and two other small houses. In addition, a variety of domestic and agricultural outbuildings characterize these domestic complexes. Also located within the district is a 1908 Warren pony truss bridge which carries McKinstry's Mill Road over Sam's Creek. Significance: The McKinstry's Mills Historic District is significant as a well-preserved example of a small 19th century hamlet that developed around a grist mill. Its history of development, in which craftsmen congregated around a dispersed service site such as a mill seeking to profit from the traffic the mill produced, is typical of rural Maryland in the period and has been recognized by students of early settlement patterns. The district includes buildings representing 19th century domestic, agricultural, commercial, and industrial types. Many of the towns and villages in Carroll County began in just this manner and for various reasons grew much larger. Other settlements around mills stayed very small, like McKinstry's Mills. The abandonment of mills in the early 20th century has resulted in their disappearance, and of the surrounding settlements, just as growth in larger towns has obliterated these settlement patterns. Only a handful of these small communities survive and retain historical integrity. In Carroll County, the most notable examples besides McKinstry's Mills are Linwood (CARR-158) and Union Mills (CARR-22); both of the latter properties have been listed in the National Register. McKinstry's Mills remains a unique, small settlement much as it was in the mid- and late-19th century. The period of significance, 1814-1915, corresponds to the ownership of the property by successive operations of the McKinstry family which was primarily responsible for the development of the district as it exists today.
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