Taos Co. Historical Society

Map  of  St. Vrain  Grist Mill Site


Detail of St. Vrain Mill


The sketch map of the site shows the locations of eleven features, identified as F-1 through F-11. These were located by first mapping exposed features, then exposing walls and corners that had been covered through moving sediment over time, then excavating test pits to floor level. Artifacts were collected according to horizontal and vertical sources, and catalogued in the laboratory at Ft. Burgwin.
Because the site was only partially excavated, definite conclusions regarding the uses and dates of every feature are not possible. It would take considerable study to create an exact model of all of the activity, the appearance and function of each of the features on the site. Never-the-less, the location, arrangement, construction of and the artifacts associated with each of these features suggest the purpose and use during the different periods known historically for the site.

Features 1-3 were the mill house (Feature 1) and appurtenant structures. This is evidently the mill house because of the lowered floor and machine parts found there, and its location next to a stone lined mill race along its southern wall. Feature 2 was evidently a place for storing grain based on its location next to the mill house, as well as the presence of wheat, chaff and burlap sacking. Feature 3 was probably a workshop, based on a deposit of wood scraps.

Feature 4 was a blacksmith shop, probably not an enclosed room, but an open or perhaps partly covered work area. In it were found horseshoes, a bit, a horse�s hoof, nails and other metal objects, as well as a deposit of ash and charcoal near the south wall.

Features 10-13 were only partly excavated, but wall outlines showed partitioned rooms in an adobe-walled building. Test trenches during the site excavation indicate that the original sluiceway to the mill passed through this site, so it is probably the remains of a building used in the latter period of the site�s use when a different ditch seems to have been used. The building was probably used for living quarters and/or storage rooms.

Features 5-8 represent a house or living quarters associated only with the first mill. Two 1970's informants state that this building was not present when they saw the site in the early 1900's. Artifacts found, such as painted tierra blanca, wallpaper, hair pins, coffee pot, baby shoe, china, spoon and porcelain doorknob indicate that people lived here.

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