From the Archives: Mildred Loomis (New Life at the Old Mill)

New Life at the Old Mill

By Mildred Loomis, 1965

The Heathcote Mill building today

The rock-walled Old Mill has stood staunchly at Heathcote Haven, Maryland Line, Md., for 150 years. With its “feet” in black soil, the steady clear water from the valley stream has turned its wheel, grinding untold barrels of good whole-grain flour.

About 40 years ago, it was replaced by modern technology. Its neighbors fled to the cities, its soil was abandoned to a few largely chemical farmers; its mill race clogged up. Its wheel stopped turning; But the Old Mill stood.

Years later, some people worried about the results of these trends—corded living, alienation, the rat-race, disease. Some longed for the elemental goodness and values symbolized by the Old Mill—organically fertile soil, whole uncontaminated food, neighborliness, intentional community, a new education.

A few School of Living members—notably the Lefever and Anacker families—sensed that the Old Mill was both symbolically and actually the ideal place for School of Living activities. They put action to their vision—called a work-bee to begin renovation for New Year’s weekend, 1965.

Since then, some 50 persons have cleaned and painted, insulated or repaired, and anticipation is that three times that number will take part this summer. Important work-play-educational sessions will be conducted all summer, and by Year’s End, the Old Mill will be well on its way to a renewal of Life and living for many people.


Work for Peace and Life

Mildred Loomis at Old Mill

The next cooperative work-bee is April 16-18. Make plans to share in it. Many affairs will compete; one is the scheduled March on Washington against the war in Vietnam; there will probably be other civil rights marches. Concerned and dedicated people want their voices felt in such protests. But in a real sense, the work at Heathcote Old Mill includes and goes beyond them. Working at the Old Mill you will be helping restore primary life values, and preparing a place for and education that deal with the whole of life, including all the economic-political-psychological factors that make for war and race-prejudice.

Note: Though this was written in 1965, the mill needs help today. Consider a donation to the Heathcote Education Center.

Citation: Loomis, Mildred (1965) “New Life at the Old Mill,” Green Revolution: Vol. 3 : Iss. 4 , Article 2.
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