Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

009-0152 Big Otter Mill

Big Otter Mill
Photo credit: Mike Pulice/DHR, 2005

*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 09/14/1998

NRHP Listing Date 10/30/1998

NRHP Reference Number 98001314

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.

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

Updated: April 25, 2022