15 July 2010

Old Rice Mill

Old Rice Mill, Charleston City Marina, Charleston, S.C.

It's a grand old building, isn't it? I don't often get to grab a picture from the water but this evening I was invited out for a sunset boat ride by Matt Galvin from Coastal Yacht Charters. What a perfect end to a day! Thanks Matt! It was such a treat to be out on the water.

The Rice Mill building doesn't look like it's changed much through the years. At one point I remember there was a restaurant on the first floor but now I believe it can be rented out for special occasions.

West Point Rice Mill was a small sliver of land protruding into the Ashley River in the 1830’s, when a steam-driven rice mill was built and powered by water from large areas of man-made pond. An 1859 fire destroyed the mill, which was replaced one year later with a structure that housed giant boilers and massive cylindrical shafts for grinding and brushing kernels into polished rice and flour. The 15-acre complex included separate shipping wharves, carpenters’ sheds and cooperage facilities, as well as new artesian wells for water supply.

For more than half a century, the West Point mill was among America’s largest and most productive, annually cranking out hundreds of thousands of barrels, and when a foundering rice business finally forced the facility to close in 1926, much of the oversized inventory was bought by Henry Ford for display at his Edison Institute antique museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

Hang on, kids! Friday is coming.