Historic Cecil House c.1898
This beautiful and well maintained historic home is one of 4 significant structures in the Cecil’s Mill Historic District, close to DC & Baltimore. Featuring 5 bedrooms, an in-law suite, gorgeous gourmet kitchen with the additional original cast iron cooking stove, a spacious sun room with views of fields and distant woods, and a “rocking chair” front porch with views of the country store and old mill. This historic landmark is a tribute to a bygone era, and with the surrounding historic district and the purchase of the additional approximately 80 acres, this property may be ideal for a winery and vineyard, or a country inn/B&B with a significant historic setting, or bring your horses/horse farm, all in a small town environment. This property is truly a once in several generation opportunity, since the property has never been for sale.
This is a home of rare and beautiful distinction, close to to Washington DC, yet a world away.
*Additional approx. 80 adjoining acres is available at $299,000 or with the house at $759,000. (PLAT)
Center Hall 20′ x 9′ – Wood floor, hanging lamp, staircase.
Living Room 16′ x 11′ – Carpet, built-in cabinets, hanging lamp, 2 french doors to Dining Room, 3 windows.
Dining Room 16′ x 12′ – Carpet, fireplace (decorative) with wood mantel, ceiling fan, 2 windows.
Den 15′ x 12′ – Carpet, fireplace (decorative) with wood mantel, built-in cabinets, ceiling fan, 5 windows.
4 Season Porch 18′ x 8′ – Carpet, ceiling fan, exterior door, 6 windows.
Kitchen 26′ x 14′ – Wood floor, electric appliances, granite counters, double sink, stamped tin back splash, vintage cast iron wood stove, 3 windows.
Pantry 9′ x 8′ – Vinyl floor, skylight, closet, door to bathroom
Bathroom 8′ x 6′ – Ceramic tile floor, skylight, bathtub, closet.
Sun Room 22′ x 12′ – Wood floor, wood stove, 12 windows, 2 doors to back yard.
Bedroom 1 15′ x 14′ – Carpet, ceiling fan, 1 closet, 5 windows.
Hall Bathroom 12′ x 8′ – Ceramic tile floor, bath tub, 2 windows.
Bedroom 2 15′ x 12′ – Carpet, closet, 3 windows.
Bedroom 3 15′ x 10′ – Carpet, closet, 2 windows.
Bedroom 4 12‘ x 11’ – Carpet, closet, 1 window.
Hallway & Back Staircase
Bedroom 5 Suite 15′ x 14′ – Carpet, 3 windows.
*Bathroom 8′ x 6′ – Carpet, closet, bathtub, 1 window.
*Walk-in Closet 8′ x 7′ – Carpet, 1 window.
Unfinished Walk Up Attic
The Cecil’s Mill Historic District includes the original water-powered textile mill “Clifton Factory.” (built in 1812) and Cecil’s Country Store and Post Office (built in 1906). Today the Country Store and Post Office is home to Cecil’s Country Store. Below is a timeline of the over 200 years of history that resides here where California and Great Mills meet.
Cecil’s Mill Historic District is of interest for two reasons: its historical use as a mill site, and the existence of the c.1810 mill and related buildings presently on the site. The Clifton Factory was the first and only attempt to establish industry in St. Mary’s County until the 20th century. The “Factory” area has been the site of milling establishments since before the Revolution with the “Great Mill” about a mile downstream and the “Indian Bridge Mill” about a quarter mile above. The area was not only an economic center in the St. Mary’s County community but a cultural one as well. (MHT)
Around 1900, John Thomas Cecil built this mill over the foundation of W.W. Cecil’s mill which was torn down. The first belt driven roller mill in the county and the saw mill were operated by water power until Cecil’s death in 1927. His son, H. Robb Cecil continued the operation converting to diesel power instead of water. The grist mill was closed in 1940 when store-bought bread created too much competition. The saw mill was closed in 1959 after the death of H. Robb Cecil. In 1975 John A. Cecil and William Cecil gave the mill to the historical society for the purpose of preserving the structure and eventually housing a museum.
The old mill now offers a unique collection of antiques, handcrafted arts and crafts, scrapbooking, and homemade jams & jellies.
Cecil’s Old Mill still has much of the original milling equipment on display. One of the pleasures of shopping at the old mill is the opportunity of being surrounded by history. Cecil’s Historic District has been a hub of commerce for St. Mary’s County since the early 19th century.
Outside, take a trip back in time to see the Old Mill’s restored double overshot waterwheel, one of the last in existence. And if you are very fortunate you might find Bill Clements operating the old sawmill! (cecilsoldmill.com)
By John Allan Cecil II
For 117 years the Western Branch supplied water to the_ Cecil’s Waterwheel. The water from the Western Branch would be diverted to the mill race, which is basically a man-made canal. Cecil’s Mill Race was over 3000 feet long, 10 to 15 feet wide and between 2 to 8 feet deep. Considering it was dug by hand, this was quite a feat. The last time the mill race was dug out was in 1917 by John T. Cecil; they say he had back problems, and now I know why.
The mill race had a mill pond where water was stored for dry times. The water was stored energy. Parts of the mill pond’s wooden gates are still standing today.
Once the water left the mill race, it entered what was called a flume. The flume directed the water to the waterwheel with a gate that governed the amount of water allowed over the water wheel usually the gate would be opened about 2 inches. If you wanted the wheel to spin faster, you would open the gate farther.
The original waterwheel, made of wood, was converted to steel about 1870. A steel waterwheel is four times more efficient than a wooden waterwheel. The Cecil waterwheel measures 10 feet in diameter and 12 feet wide. It is classified as a double overshot waterwheel, and it is believed to be the only one of its kind still in existence in Maryland. The overshot wheel was usually more difficult to install due to the fact that the water elevation had to be above the wheel, and naturally the stream was below the wheel. Most wheels were undershot wheels where the water level only needed to be half way up the wheel. The reason an overshot wheel was preferred is that they were about 65% efficient, whereas the undershot wheel was only 30% efficient, and a double overshot would produce over two times more horsepower than a single-shot wheel. The Cecil’s wheel produces approximately 40-50 horsepower per my calculation. The waterwheel was used to produce mechanical power, which improved production, efficiency, as well as the quality of the product. This mechanical power was used to operate machinery such as pulverizers, screeners, separators, mill stones, rollers, sifters, saw blades, the hoist and other pieces of machinery.
At the end of the waterwheel shaft is a large gearwheel. This large gearwheel turns a small gearwheel, which is on the same shaft as a large drive pulley; this in tum is connected to a leather belt, which is used to operate the machinery in the mill.
Around the 1920’s the mill added a steam engine that came from the Leonardtown Laundry as a backup system for the waterwheel. It appears that water was not always abundant during the dry time of year. The waterwheel was used for the last time in 1927.
Wikipedia – Cecil’s Mill Historic District
Maryland Historical Trust – Cecil’s Mill Historic District
National Register of Historic Places – Cecil’s Mill Historic District
Cecil’s Mill – A brief history (cecilsoldmill.com)
Cecil’s Old Mill – Visit St. Mary’s Website
Cecil’s Country Store – Visit St. Mary’s Website
Great Mills – Boundary Map (MHT)
Cecil’s Mill – A history by John Alan Cecil II
Historic Mills – Other Mills in the Area
Clifton Mill – Location with Pond & Race
Tarleton Mill – Location with Pond & Race
Plat – Additional Acreage Available with Cecil House