Big Otter Mill

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NRHP Listing Date


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Big Otter Mill is a remarkably intact early-20th-century roller and gristmill. Millers Reed Forbes and his son John built it north of the Bedford town limits on a fork of the Big Otter River, one of Bedford County’s principal waterways. Formerly known as Forbes Mill, the large mortise-and-tenon, frame mill building is topped by an unusual and picturesque mansard roof. The mill retains a nearly complete set of early-20th-century machinery that, until the late 1940s, processed corn, wheat, and other locally produced grains. During the early 20th century, smaller-scale commercial activities, including a steam-powered sawmill and a country store, supplemented the Big Otter Mill’s operation. The foundation of the store and an early-20th-century millrace remains on the merchant mill property.

Last Updated: June 2, 2023

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

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