Master Plan (IMP).
I think that there is some confusion as to what an Interpretive
Master Plan (IMP) is, its function, and what it contains. A master
plan is a comprehensive compilation of interpretive themes. This
includes the main theme, sub-themes and suggestions of secondary
Interpretive Master Plan (IMP) provides the basic history and
problems with historical information found in various sources,
records, and time lines. For example, all written records state
that, "in 1876 a Loffel Turbine was installed in the mill."
Anyone who knows about milling and milling technology knows that
is a misspelling of the name "Leffel," a water turbine
maker which is still in business in Springfield, Ohio. Another
example, is that Isaac Pearce always spelled his name "Pearce"
which this is the way it is spelled in all official documents
and records of the Court. Later the family spelled the name, "Peirce,"
and never it was spelled, "Pierce" unless it was used
as a first name.
Interpretive Master Plan (IMP) will spell out if the mill is
to be interpreted as a merchant (commercial) or custom (grist
or batch) mill. Did the mill change it function during its years
Interpretive Master Plan (IMP) provides guidelines. It is not
a word by word narrative on interpretation. It is the guideline
by which the School Programs will be later developed using Curriculum
Based Standards of Learning. Program offerings will include curriculum-based
activities that adhere to content standards and concepts as defined
by the State's Essential Knowledge and Skills.
Interpretive Master Plan (IMP) it guides the formal and informal
parks as classrooms programs that is used for public education
for schools. This is developed as an integral part of the interpretive
Finally, the IMP is a requirement for all interpretive material
found at the site. An interpretive specialist will use the IMP
as a guide for creating the interpretive brochure, and perhaps
a series of interpretive brochures. The Site Interpretive and
Volunteer Handbooks, and all items sold at the outlet gift shop
will be based upon the guidelines established by the IMP.
It doesn't make very much sense to have an interpretive master
plan if you don't have people to implement it, otherwise, it is
just a document that sits in the Educational Directors Office,
and or the Chief of Interpretation and Recreation Office. One
of the first programs to be developed from the IMP is the interpretive
guide program. The School Programs is a guided walk though the
site, but the interpretive guide program is dependent upon the
activities of the site for that day. For example, an interpreter
may man an information desk, while the miller and his helpers
are busy operating the mill. The visitors happen upon them in
their walk through the mill. On special events when greater numbers
of visitors pass though the site, station interpretation may work
best and provide for visitor safety.
The IMP should end with the most correct historical material
know about the site, and its history. The main problem with Peirce
Mill is that all of the accounts, and other published material
contradict each other. Then there is also gross miss information,
and the problem with the National Park Service is that they have
this attitude, "If it is in print, it must be correct!"
Louis Pierce Shoemaker, a jeweler in Georgetown, said in an article
found in the Records of the Columbia Historical Society, that
the first water wheel at the mill was of the undershot type. Undershot
water wheels are found on tidal powered mills and boat or floating
mills. The mill Argyle Mill directly above Peirce Mill had a 11
foot fall and an overshot water wheel. The mill below Peirce Mill,
Adams Mill had a 16 foot diameter breast shot water wheel. Lyon's
Mill below Adams Mill had two large breast shot water wheels on
each end of the building. The most fall that Peirce Mill had was
7 feet. Water turbines have the same power requirements as that
of the breast shot for fall and amount of water (cubic feet per
minute). Louis Pierce Shoemaker was not a trained hydraulic engineer,
and in England, they call undershot, low-middle and high breast
shots, and pitch-back water wheels as being, "undershot,"
because the water exits the water wheel from the bottom. However,
they are all very different, and the undershot water wheel is
constructed very differently than the breast and pitch-back water
To close, if more is placed into the IMP that what information
is found below, the interpreters who come afterwards will hate
your "BLANKED" guts for all time! Interpreters like
to find little bits of information that others do not have. They
don't like being locked into programs that other people have created,
they like to make a program their own. When staff comes and goes,
interpretive material often goes with them or is boxed up and
Historical Background of Peirce
Mill: In 1747 George Reed built the first mill on a tract
of land known as the "Gift." Isaac Pearce, later spelled
Peirce was born in the Pearce House in Kenneth Square, Pennsylvania.
At the outbreak of the American Revolution, Isaac comes to Maryland
to learn the trade of Millwright for Abner Cloud in Georgetown.
Isaac Pearce married Abner Cloud's Daughter Elizabeth, always
known as Betty, and builds the Argyle Mills along Rock Creek.
In 1790 William Deakin's replaces the mill with a two story, two
pair of millstones wood frame Oliver Evans mill. Isaac Pearce
purchases the property from William Deakins, and in 1820 builds
a larger stone mill similar to that of the Argyle Mills. Isaac
died in 1841 leaving his estate, including the mill, to his fourth
child, Abner Cloud Peirce, by occupation a stone mason, who continued
to operate the plantation. The Peirce-Klingle Mansion and the
Pearce Nursery was left to other son Joshua Peirce. Abner Peirce
died in 1851, and his sister Abigail's son, Peirce Shoemaker.
In 1876, he installed a Leffel Water Turbine, and then in 1880
flour milling in the District began to decline. Peirce Shoemaker
died in 1891, a year after most of his land had been condemned
to create Rock Creek Park. In 1892, the Government added the parcel
upon which Peirce Mill stands to the park. The last millers, the
White Brothers continued to operate the mill until 1897 when the
main shaft broke. In 1904 the mill was converted to a Colonial
Tearoom until 1934 when the mill began to be restored by the Fitz
Water Wheel Company as a Public Works Project. The mill began
grinding grain in 1938 and was used in the Government Cafeterias
in Washington, and the White House.
Main Theme (Divisions of Main
Theme): Milling Along Rock Creek (Merchant Milling in the
District of Columbia; Custom Milling in Montgomery County; Secondary
Milling Operations-Saw Mills; Plaster Mills; Paper Mills; Bone
Mills; Wool Carding Mills; Lime Kilns; Parrot's Ropewalk in Georgetown;
Navigation on Rock Creek to the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal).
Secondary Themes (Sub-Themes):
1. Milling in the District of Columbia (Flour Mills
of Georgetown; Flour Milling Along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal;
Mills of Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware).
2. Milling in the Middle Atlantic States (Pennsylvania
the Breadbasket of the North; Virginia the Breadbasket of the
South; Mills of the Brandywine; Merchant Milling).
3. Milling in the Upper South (Flour Milling Centers Along
the Fall Line-Wilmington, the Brandywine, Baltimore, Georgetown,
Alexandria, Occoquan, and Richmond; The Beginning of the Milling
Revolution and Later Developments in Agriculture).
4. Oliver Evans (The Young Mill-Wright and Miller's Guide;
The Elevator, Conveyor, Descender, Drill and Hopper-boy; Patent
Law, and the Quaker Revolution).
5. The Milling Industrial Revolution (1.The Traditional
Pre-Settlement European Technology ("Low Milling," "Flat
Milling," or "American Milling" technology. 2.
The Oliver Evans "Automated Flour Milling System" of
1787. 3. The New Process Milling System of the 1850's and 1860's
("Half-High Milling" technology which involves regrinding
middlings on smaller diameter millstones. 4. The Roller Milling
System of the 1870's "High Grinding," or "Gradual
Reduction" technology, which incorporated the New Process
milling system and the use of the "Roller Process").
6. Soft Wheat Automated Flour Milling (Soft or English
Wheat; Cake & Pastry Flour; Low Gluten Flour; Soft Wheat (Low
Gluten) versus the later Hard Wheat (High Gluten) grown in the
7. Milling Corn (No Export Value; Corn Meal, Grits and
8. Milling Buckwheat (Buckwheat is an Herb used as a Cereal
9. Milling Rye (Pumpernickel Flour and Fungus Ergot).
10. Milling Oats (Oat Meal and Oat Flour, German Millers).
11. Peirce Plantation (The Cloverdale Mansion; Slavery
and Endured Servants).
12. Peirce Mill Nursery (Early Nursery and Plantings in
the District; Isaac Pearce's brothers, Joshua and Samuel Peirce
in 1780 built Peirce Arboretum which became Longwood Gardens).
13. Peirce Mill Saw Mill (Secondary Milling Operations).
14. Peirce Spring, Peirce Potato House, and Ice House (Carriage
House with its Carrier Pigeons; Cow Barn; Cow Hill; Apple and
Peach Orchards; Every Building also a Slave Dwelling, and Slave
15. Peirce Mill Distillery (Apple Cider and Peach Brandy;
Conversion to Barn and Later House-Winston Churchill Guest).
16. Milling Centers of Early America (Richmond, Virginia,
the Largest Flour Milling Center in the United States in 1860).
17. Early American Crafts and Trades (The Millwright; Flour
Miller; Millstone Dresser; Quarry Millstone Maker, Apprenticeship
18. Quaker Millers in Early America (Milling for Profit
and Export; the Napoleonic War; Exempt from Military Service).
19. Flour Barrels (Coopers; Wet and Dry Coopers; Reusable
30 year Shipping Container; Basement Fireplaces and Barrel Branding
20. Hydraulic Engineering (Millwrights the First Hydraulic
Engineers; Horse Power; Types of Water Wheels; Types of Mill Dams;
Conveying water to the Wheel by Mill Races and Sluice Boxes).
21. Life of the Miller (Rock Creek Millers; Miller's Office;
Potbelly Stove; the Miller's House; the Miller's Costume; Milling
22. Millstone Milling (Millstone Dressing; Types of Millstones;
Imported Millstones; Millstone Milling versus Roller Milling).
23. Skills Used in Building the Mill (Hewing Logs; Shingle
Making, Stone Quarrying and Stone Cutting; Peirce Mill Stone Quarry;
Use of Leather Belting and Rope in Peirce Mill).
24. Harvesting Grains (Wheat Cradle; Wheat Flailing and
Winnowing; Corn Shelling; Peirce Mill's Sources of Grain).
25. Milling Process of Peirce Mill (Grain Handling; Grain
Storage; Grain Cleaning; Wheat Tempering and Conditioning; Grain
Milling; Meal Cooling; Meal Sifting; Flour Packaging, and Shipping).
26. Native American Pre-Settlement Activities in Area (The
Great Falls of the Potomac; Arrowhead Making; Seasonal Tribes
27. Etc., etc.
Major Bibliographical Reference:
McCormick, Charles H. "Milling in Rock Creek Park, General
Background," Division of History, Office of Archaeology and
Historic Preservation, National Park Service, U.S. Department
of the Interior, November 1, 1967.
"Historic American Building Survey," (DC-22) 19 exterior
photos showing restoration (1934, 1935, 1936), 3 photocopies (1899,
c. 1900, 7 data pages (1936).
Clark, Allen C. "The Old Mills," Records of the Columbia
Historical Society, Volume 31-32, Washington, D.C., published
by Society, 1930, pages 81-115.
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