The St. Vrain Mill was built in 1864 by Ceran St. Vrain, a prominent trader, Santa Fe wagon master, and entrepreneur. It is a large three-story stone structure on the banks of the Mora River in Mora, New Mexico. It was one of several mills in the Mora Valley that provided flour and milled-grain to nearby Fort Union. Operated as a mill until 1922, its milling machinery was sold off during WWII's metal-collection efforts. The last 75 years or so, it has been neglected and is gradually deteriorating. It is one of the last and most impressive historical structures in Mora County today.
Ongoing Efforts by the Saint Vrain Mill Foundation:
The St. Vrain Mill was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
It was placed on the List of Ten Most Endangered Historical Places in New Mexico in 2002. A much more detailed history can be seen at the History Tab.
In 2013, several members of the Mora community established The Saint Vrain Mill Preservation and Historical Foundation for the specific purpose of buying and preserving the St. Vrain Mill.
In early June 2015, with the generous donations of the community and our members, the St. Vrain Mill was purchased by the Foundation.
First step was to commission a Historic Structures Report documenting the historical and architectural features of the Mill and a structural analysis to determine the most practical way to stabilize the foundation and repair the walls. Both documents can be seen at the Reports Tab.
In January 2018, with engineering recommendations in hand, the foundation was stabilized.
The gables were repaired in 2019, as well as the windows and the south-facing, second-story loading platform.
Currently, work is being done to raise funds for the wall repair and roof replacement while continuing to do smaller projects, like window grate replacement, as funds allow.
The eventual end-use of the Mill will most likely be a Mora Valley Heritage Center featuring the history of the generational families of Mora County. A more complete description of our restoration plan can be seen at the Restoration Plan Tab.
DAR Awards Grant to the St. Vrain Mill
The Saint Vrain Mill Foundation is the grateful recipient of a grant from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revoluation (NSDAR). The $5,344 award is for the buildout of the rear stairs and entry way. It's a matching grant so the Foundation has to match the amount. We have until June 30, 2021, to raise the funds and complete the work. Our thanks to the DAR Valle Grande Chapter, Los Alamos, New Mexico, for sponsoring our application. Previously, in 2016, the DAR Stephen Watts Kearney Chapter, Santa Fe, New Mexico, recognized the Foundation's efforts on behalf of the St. Vrain Mill with the prestigious Historic Preservation Recognition Award.
We have completed the installation of windows on the first- and third-floors and are in the process of installing the remaining eight windows on the second floor. Also, in February, we completed the re-build of the second-story loading platform. It is an exact historical reproduction of the original based on period photos and remaining parts of the original platform. Our thanks to everyone who generously purchased individual windows and the loading platform.
Left: Newly restored loading platform on the Mill.
Right: Historically accurate window with glass on first floor of the St. Vrain Mill. Photos
Copyright: V.B. Taylor, 2020
North and South Gables Repaired...
Left: Santa Fe Architect Beverley Spears takes gable measurements before work begins.
Above: Foundation President, Merl Witt, Beverley Spears, and Contractor Ken Knutson discuss findings during construction.
Below left and right: Completed gable restoration on both the north and south side of the St. Vrain Mill.
Photos: copyright Mill photos--Ken Krusemark.
Copyright: Group photo--Virginia Berg-Taylor
Summer 2019 St. Vrain Mill Restoration Project -- Gable Repair
In early June, The Saint Vrain Mill Foundation received word that the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division (HPD) awarded us a grant for the repair and restoration of the St. Vrain Mill gables. This grant, along with additional Saint Vrain Mill Foundation funds, is enough to completely rebuild both the north and south gables.
The south gable is intact, but nearly all of the sheeting boards are missing and will need to be replaced. The north gable is in far worse shape; much of the framing will need to be replaced, as well as some of the sheathing. All four cornices will be rebuilt, and new, period reproduction window sashes will be installed. The work will take four to six weeks and, once it is done, the St. Vrain Mill will be wind-, water-, and equally important, bird-proof. The contractor performing the work is Knutson Constuction, Sapello, New Mexico.
South end (front) of St. Vrain Mill behind Knutson Construction barrier fence.
Photos: Copyright--V. Berg-Taylor, 2019.
South-end gable (rear of St. Vrain Mill) after being pulled back into place.
Rear of St. Vrain Mill showing the scaffolding in place under the south-end gable.