Roanoke Parks and Recreation is excited to announce that the historic water wheel at Mason Mill Park has been returned to working order once again.
Mason Mill Road, as well as the parking lot for Mason Mill Park, are currently closed for construction. During this closure, Parks department staff used the opportunity to bring in crews and equipment to get the mill wheel rolling again. The channel feeding the long stagnant mill wheel was filled with sediment, debris, and plant matter. Crews worked over multiple days to clear the obstructions impeding water flow and damaging the causeway.
These efforts required multiple departments, including our Park Maintenance, Landscape Maintenance, and Urban Forestry crews. Additionally, City of Roanoke Facilities staff manufactured new pieces for the flow gate, and Roanoke Stormwater performed skilled earthwork on the causeway. Thanks to this combined effort, a piece of Roanoke history has been restored.
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The original mill at this site was built in the 1800s, operating first as a grist mill and later as a sawmill. The mill and park are named after John Mason, who owned the mill from the late 1800s into the early 1900s. Early in the 20th century, an impressive five story mill was built on the site, known as Roanoke City Mill and considered one of the most modern mills in the south at the time. The Roanoke City Mill burned in 1924, though the wheel survived and the mill was operated as a pumping station after that time.