On Saturday morning, Apr. 5, a sign was erected and dedicated to commemorate the purchase and preservation of the Historic Cement Mill property. The property is located within the core of the site of the 1862 Battle of Shepherdstown and contains structures from an 1829 Cement Mill. The workings and use of the Cement Mill played a significant role in, and marked the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in Jefferson County. The structures include the ruins of the mill, six kilns on the bank of the Potomac River, a large kiln south of River Road and the remnants of an office building. Some of the kilns on the river show damage from Union artillery shells sustained during the Battle of Shepherdstown.
In late 2011, the Civil War Trust purchased 18 acres of the Cement Mill property and in late 2013, another small parcel, contiguous to the Cement Mill property, was purchased. The entire property was deeded to the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC). Ultimately, the HLC intends to donate the parcel to the National Park Service (NPS). A conservation easement has been placed on the property and it has been included in the National Register of Historic Places.
The total cost of the purchases was $445,000. The funds to complete the purchases came from the Land and Water Conservation Fund administered by the NPS, West Virginia Transportation Enhancement Grants, the Civil War Trust, Save Historic Antietam Foundation Inc., the office of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin through the efforts of then-Delegate John Doyle, the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association Inc., and the American Battlefield Protection Program of the NPS.
The Civil War Trust has negotiated to purchase another parcel contiguous to the Cement Mill property which will result in the preservation of 20.2 acres of the original Cement Mill property. Importantly, the Cement Mill property is contiguous to 59 acres already saved through the use of conservation easements. In total, 104 acres of the core of site of the Battle of Shepherdstown have been saved and preserved.
This effort has been the result of the work of the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association Inc (SBPA) and its individual members. SBPA is a non-profit corporation, organized in 2004 dedicated to saving and preserving the core of the site of the Battle of Shepherdstown. Slightly more than $1 million has been raised through grants and membership contributions during the last ten years. If you would like to help save more of the battlefield and learn more about SBPA, please go to: www.battleofshepherdstown.org.