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Interpretive Master Plan (IMP).

Peirce Mill Attic (circa 1940) which is still in the process of being put back together from parts which were in storage in the Carriage House. Shown in the photo is the sack hoist, rolling screen, smutter (laying behind the), tempering bin, and the 1802 hopper-boy which came from the Baughman's Mill near Linesboro, Maryland.

Interpretive Master Plan (IMP),
Theodore R. Hazen.

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 themes.

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 of operation?

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 master plan.

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 wheels.

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 stored somewhere.

Raymond Watt, the miller at Peirce Mill from 1942, and head miller from 1944 until he retired in 1958. He would come to the mill on weekends though most of the 1960's to add color and answer questions. He had a pushed in nose and a hair lip, and most people who knew and loved him called him, "Wattie."

Interpretive Master Plan (IMP) for Peirce Mill,
Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C.

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 Midwest).
7. Milling Corn (No Export Value; Corn Meal, Grits and Corn Bran).
8. Milling Buckwheat (Buckwheat is an Herb used as a Cereal Grain).
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 Occupations).
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 System, etc.).
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 Irons).
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 Folklore).
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 Movement, etc.).
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.

More Interpretive Planning.

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Copyright 2006 by T. R. Hazen