Out of hundreds of mills on the East Coast in colonial times, only a few survive, and fewer still operate. As the oldest working mill in Maryland (1682), the flour-producing “grist” mill after which the town of Wye Mills was named participated in three centuries of war, nation-building, industrial invention and agricultural heritage. During the American Revolution, the Wye Grist Mill and hundreds of others like it on the Eastern Shore shipped barrels of flour via the Chesapeake Bay to the Continental Army, commanded by General George Washington. Historians dubbed the Eastern Shore the “Breadbasket of the Revolution.”

Prominent owners of the Mill included Richard Bennett III, Edward Lloyd III and IV (owners of Wye House) and Colonel William Hemsley, Commander of the Queen Anne’s County Militia and provisioner to the Continental Army, 1779-1783. Oliver Evans, “Father of the Modern Factory” and first great American inventor, used the Wye Grist Mill in the 1790’s to formulate automation ideas that revolutionized American factories.

The Friends of Wye Mill, a local visitor-supported charity, lovingly preserves and operates the Mill, grinding flour to this day using two massive grindstones powered by a 26 horsepower overshot waterwheel. “Millers” sell flour and offer tours April – November 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Thursday – Sunday; and demonstrate flour grinding every first and third Saturday. Closed November – April. The mill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.