Adventures in Preservation Project Site Gains National Heritage Recognition

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Adventures in Preservation played a leading role in saving the Francis Mill in Waynesville, North Carolina, recently placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Volunteers raising the new oak posts during 2004 work at the Francis Mill

The story of the Francis Mill is proof positive that people make preservation happen.

The timber frame grist mill restored by Adventures in Preservation (AiP), its preservation volunteers and project partners has received federal recognition for its contributions to the history of Francis Cove and the Waynesville, North Carolina area.

Kevin Cherry, North Carolina State Historic Preservation Officer, announced on May 1, 2013 that the United States Department of the Interior has added the 19th century Francis Grist Mill to the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register is the Federal Government’s official list of properties throughout the United States whose historical and architectural significance makes them worthy of preservation.

Built in 1887 by William Francis, the Francis Grist Mill has served as a focal point of the rural community for over 100 years. A concerted effort by volunteers attending hands-on workshop organized by Adventures in Preservation for the Francis Mill Preservation Society (FMPS) kickstarted the restoration effort. The mill was close to collapse when Tanna Timbes, whose great-great-grandfather built the mill, approached AiP for assistance. The mill is now fully functional and open to school groups and others as an educational resource.

The series of hands-on volunteer projects in 2004, 2005, 206 brought volunteers from around the country to help restore the mill under the technical guidance of conservation expert Jeff Finch. Volunteers learned how to make mortise and tenon connections for new beams, repair damaged beam ends, and other timber frame restoration skills needed to accomplish the work.

“We are so pleased that the State and Federal governments have officially recognized the significance of the Francis Mill, a site that will always be special to us as it was the first long-term project AiP helped coordinate,” said Jamie Donahoe, AiP Board member, who continues to provide technical assistance and to the Francis Mill Preservation Society. “The story of the Francis Mill is proof positive that people make preservation happen.”

Restoration of the Francis Grist Mill was made possible by thousands of volunteer hours and generous contributions from the community. Funding was provided by the Society for the Preservation of Old Mills (SPOOM), the James G. K. McClure Foundation, the Society for Industrial Archaeology, the Terence L. Mills Preservation Fund for North and South Carolina, the Haywood County Community Foundation, the Steele Reese Foundation, the Janirve Foundation, the Bethel Rural Community Organization and MAST General Store as well as the Francis Cove and Waynesville communities.

Adventures in Preservation is a non-profit organization connecting people and preservation through enriching experiential programs that safeguard cultural heritage. One- and two-week hands-on volunteer vacations give participants the opportunity to travel, experience their destination, and learn hands-on skills while saving a valuable historic resource. AiP envisions a world where people use, understand, and appreciate historic buildings that are vital to economic and environmental sustainability. Learn more about how AiP volunteers combine their power with the strength of local communities to make a difference at

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Judith Broeker
Adventures in Preservation
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