After many months of restoration work, the Mabry Mill along the Blue Ridge Parkway will be celebrated on July 31.
The ribbon cutting marks both the restoration of the mill wheel itself, as well as dredging of the pond. Much of the work was paid for through a $65,000 grant from the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. The Parkway itself has received another $12,258 in donations.
The gristmill was built by Ed and Lizzie Mabry in the first decade of 1900. Today it is one of the most culturally recognized icons on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and considered to be the "most photographed structure" in the National Park System. The Mabrys' vision for the mill site was to create a community anchor for business and social gatherings, according to the Foundation. Today, Mabry Mill is still a gathering place, and on Sundays you'll find locals and tourists enjoying mountain music, flatfooting and interpretive programs.
Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Mark Woods, who will be at the ribbon-cutting celebration, said 'the first National Park Service Director Stephen T. Mather said 'establishment of parks is not enough, what is needed are more people who will take the time to gain a better understanding of the important issues facing our National Parks.' The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is reaching out to involve people and making a real difference. It's a great partnership. I look forward to this ceremony and meeting new people who want to be more involved with the Blue Ridge Parkway.'
'This project and all others we fund are only possible because of the Community of Stewards who join together to make a difference today and tomorrow," said Carolyn Ward, the Foundation's CEO. "This is our park and our legacy and because of the Community of Stewards, we will leave it better than we found it.'
The Blue Ridge Parkway charges no fees to visit its historic sites, museums, or world-class trails. Tight operating budgets and a growing backlog of unmet needs have resulted in a challenging situation for one of the most-visited units of the National Park Service.
The ribbon-cutting will be held at 11 a.m. on July 31 at Mabry Mill, which can be found at Milepost 176.