Monday, November 12, 2012

Mt. Vernon Mill No. 1 Behind the Scenes Tour

A few weeks ago E. and I lucked out and met the developers of a new project at the foot of our hill. Mt. Vernon Mill will be finishing up next year and will be home to new condominiums, two restaurants and a pool. We are thrilled to have this new neighbor and were excited to meet Jennifer Tufaro Nolley, Development Manager for a tour early one morning last month. Her father is an instrumental developer in Baltimore, who turns vacant warehouses into things of beauty for mixed office uses.

We donned our hard hats and were given an overview of the project. I love reading architectural drawings and being able to see the vision laid out in a plan.

The Mt. Vernon Mill was home to a cotton duck cloth factory, that made sail cloth for clipper ships. The Jones Falls River runs right through the Mill. This is a poured cement building across from the original mill that will house offices.

The original beams and columns of the Mill No.1 will be kept in tact, but the floors are all being replaced due to age and moisture damage. This photo has the original floors shown. They have already been demolished and the studs are going in now for the new ones. The flow of traffic will change a bit on Fall Road as well. They are building a parking garage on the lower level of the building for tenants. A separate entrance for the restaurant will avoid a rush hour bottleneck (I hope).

I'm not sure when this shot was taken, but it is so neat to see the changes in the windows and even the roof line of the smaller building in the lower right.

There was a fire that burned the stairwell and cupola as seen in the older photo. You can see how different the smaller building roof line is now. The frames are being put in this week for the roof. During our tour we crossed a foot bridge to the other side of the Falls and are looking north toward the project. It all reminds me of a Richard Scarry's children book. I could watch the back hoe's and cement trucks all day.

The building still has so many original details that will make the space as a whole have a real sense of place. Our home is one of the original Mill Manager's homes. We have artifacts all over the garden that must have come from the Mill. We can't wait to see the final project and see how they will use these artifacts throughout the property. 

The old windows were completely bricked up for the last five years since we've been in Baltimore. The progress alone of the windows makes us happier than you can imagine. So many of our Stone Hill neighbors have been cleaning up the hillsides with old vines, and the whole village seems to have a fresh new lease on life. 
 Across the footbridge will be office space that will overlook the light rail. 

View looking east.

The day after Hurricane Sandy we went for a long hike through the 700 acre Druid Hill Park. The Mill Project has been clearing out so much of the brush and overgrowth throughout the neighborhood that we could actually see the Falls. It was great to see how high the water rose without affecting any of the buildings. Clearly it has been hear for nearly 200 years due to great design.

I took a quick video to show how the Jones Falls is being taken care of. They cut back the trees and through the brush into the dam to keep the water from flowing too fast due to Sandy. It was pretty impressive that we didn't have major flooding.

Thank you Jennifer for the great tour. It is so much fun seeing the progress each week with The Mill. Now, if we could only find out what restaurants are going into the space!

On a random side note, I have started to post some auction items for the first time on eBay. If you are into culinary collectibles stop by StoneHillHospitality on eBay here


Anonymous said...

These pictures of Mill #1 are amazing. Do you know how neighbors can don hard hats and get the tour? There will be wonderful opportunities for culinary artists to get jobs in these new restaurants, and this will be wonderful for the Jones Falls communities.
Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Very neat stuff! I live in the Overlook at the newly re-developed Clipper Mill. I think progress is wonderful!

Pigtown*Design said...

It's funny that you say how high the water is. In the early 1970's, Hurricane Agnes roared through the area and many of the buildings that are along the falls had their businesses destroyed. That lead to the closing of many of the small mills along there, including London Fog, Penguin Books and others. In fact, if you find an old Penguin book, pre-1970's, you'll see the American address as Baltimore 11 Maryland, that being the old zip code format.