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George Washington wasn't only a general and a farmer; he was also a businessman. He began with a gristmill, using the treading barn on his grounds to help separate the wheat. He then took the separated wheat to the mill to be turned into flour. But since George Washington was always interested in learning how to use his land efficiently, he was persuaded to open a distillery as well. Today, we keep his business spirit alive by keeping his gristmill and distillery open and running for both touring and production!

The Gristmill

The Gristmill was essential to the plantation and helped feed the enslaved community. It was also an industry, producing grain for neighboring farmers and nearby markets.

Washington's Gristmill

Washington's Gristmill in Action (Video)

Oliver Evans

The man who inspired George Washington's construction of the Gristmill was Oliver Evans. After reading Evans's patent, Washington decided to create his own version of the gristmill based upon Evans's findings.

Evans's Gristmill

The Distillery

George Washington hesitantly began distilling whiskey in order to expand his business opportunities. It turned out to be a surprisingly successful enterprise.

Washington's Distillery

Washington's Distillery in Actin (Video)

James Anderson

Hired as a manager in 1797, James Anderson proposed that Washington should consider distilling whiskey because he had plenty of rye and corn to make it. George Washington agreed and thus, the distillery was born!

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Discover the Gristmill

Discover the Distillery

The Enslaved Workers at the Gristmill and Distillery

George Washington's enslaved workers - such as Hanson, Peter, Nat, Daniel, James, and Timothy - worked hard, long hours as distillers to make the Gristmill and Distillery profitable. Without them, George Washington would not have been as successful in his distillery efforts. Learn more about their individual jobs and tasks by clicking below!

The Jobs and Tasks of the Enslaved

Distillery Archeology

There are many archeological artifacts left over from the original Distillery. Learn more about these discoveries and why they matter.

Uncovering the past

Gristmill Glossary

There were many different terms that were used by the millers in Washington's day. Click the link to learn more about them and why they were used.

Gristmill Glossary

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