St. Vrain Mill Receives Grant, Needs Matching Funds
The St. Vrain Mill Foundation is pleased to announce that they have received a grant from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). The New Mexico DAR Valle Grande Chapter of Los Alamos sponsored the application on behalf of the St. Vrain Mill Foundation. The grant was awarded in the amount of $5,344 and requires that the Foundation match the amount. The award money will fund the reconstruction of a rear exit-door and frame, and the building of a rear stairway as part of the required secondary/emergency exit. Work will be completed sometime this summer. Completion of this project will bring the mill into compliance with the safety requirements for public access and allow it to be a resource for the Mora community.
The St. Vrain Mill has a long history in Mora. It was built in 1864 by Ceran St. Vrain, a prominent trader, Santa Fe Trail wagon master, and entrepreneur. Mora was becoming a large grain growing area at the time, so the mill was built to produce flour. The mill supplied flour to Army posts across what was then the territory of New Mexico. The mill’s primary customer was Fort Union, and yearly contracts sometimes required up to 250,000 pounds of flour to be produced for the approximate cost of 5 to 10 cents per pound.
The mill was last operated in 1922, and for the past 75 years, it was neglected and fell into disrepair. The St. Vrain Mill was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and the List of Ten Most Endangered Historical Places in New Mexico in 2002. In 2013, several members of the Mora community established The Saint Vrain Mill Preservation and Historical Foundation for the specific purpose of buying and restoring the St. Vrain Mill. Since then, the Foundation has done a lot of work to the mill including repairing the gables and windows, installing a walkway, completing the first story platform, and making the building wind, water, and bird proof. Funds for the repairs come from annual membership fees, grants, loans, fundraisers, and generous donations from visitors. The eventual end use of the mill will likely be a Mora Cultural Center featuring the history of the generational families of the Mora Valley. To learn more about the St. Vrain Mill, become a member, or donate to the cause, visit their webpage at: https://www.stvrainmill.org/
Special thanks to Merl Witt and the St. Vrain Mill Foundation for all their hard work in restoring the mill and for always keeping us up to date with their progress. Congratulations!