The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Life!

January 13, 2007

Grist mill project proposed for Little Beaver State Park

Foundation purchases option to buy mill near Craigsville in Nicholas County

By Fred Pace

register-herald business editor

Little Beaver State Park Foundation member and former state legislator Paul Hutchinson Jr. believes putting a historic grist mill at Little Beaver could become just as big of an attraction as the one at Babcock State Park in Fayette County.

“The Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State Park is one of the most photographed spots in the West Virginia state park system,” Hutchinson said. “You see it on postcards, on calendars, on advertisements promoting tourism and many more places. People come from all over the world to see this historic mill, and I believe we can do the same thing at Little Beaver State Park.”

Hutchinson has recruited the expertise of Don Page, considered the father of the mill at Babcock, to be involved in the proposed mill project at Little Beaver. The proposal calls for purchasing an old mill in Nicholas County and moving it to Little Beaver.

“Don Page was the first head of the Arts and Crafts Division of the state Commerce Department under then-Gov. Hulett Smith,” Hutchinson said. “He is the man that found the combining part and pieces from three mills to construct the mill at Babcock and he also found the water wheel. He is an expert when it comes to these types of mills and projects. He has the knowledge and background to get this type of project completed.”

Page, a Beckley resident, says historic preservation projects have always been close to his heart.

“I am currently working with the group that is trying to renovate and restore the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building in downtown Beckley as an art center,” he said. “I am still staying active and working on as many programs and projects as I can for the benefit of historic preservation, arts and crafts, economic development and tourism in the state.”

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