Peirce Mill is the principal relic of the Peirce plantation and a unique symbol of the milling industry that once flourished along Rock Creek.
Built in 1829 by slaveholder Isaac Peirce, the Peirce Mill on Rock Creek ground corn, wheat, and rye until 1897, when its turbine's shaft finally broke. The mill was situated on a 960-acre plantation, where the Peirce family relied on enslaved people to provide most of the labor. In 1890, the mill, along with 350 acres of the larger property, were incorporated into Rock Creek Park by an Act of Congress.
Park managers undertook the project of improving the former plantation site at the turn of the century, converting the former mill into a tearoom in the 1920s. When New Deal legislation transferred Rock Creek Park to the National Park Service in 1933, the NPS worked to restore the mill and the surrounding property to their historic layout. The historical data on which these changes were based have been lost, so it is unclear what information was used to restore the mill or the rest of the old plantation site.
DC Inventory: November 8, 1964 (Joint Committee on Landmarks)
National Register: March 24, 1969
This site is included in the Capital City Slavery Tour for its role as a plantation run by enslaved labor. For further information on slavery in the District, view DC Preservation League's Capital City Slavery Digital Exhibit.