Then & Now: Clopper Grist Mill

This post is a continuation of a series of “Then & Now” images that will show photographs of buildings, street scenes, and other historical locales from Lewis Reed’s Photo Collection alongside photographs of how they appear today. Taken approximately 109 years apart, these photos show the Clopper Grist Mill then and now.

Clopper Mill (THEN): Francis Cassatt Clopper bought this mill and 541 acres in 1810, but the earliest mention of a mill on this site dates back to 1777. Clopper’s mill was a square, three-story grist mill, with basement and first floor levels made of local field stone and a third story of brick. The mill was destroyed by a fire in 1947.

On April 15, 1865 Clopper Mill became part of national history when would-be assassin of the Vice President of the United States, George Atzerodt, spent the night there while fleeing from Washington D.C. after the assassination of President Lincoln. George was part of the gang assembled by John Wilkes Booth to eliminate the heads of the U.S. government. He was supposed to kill Vice President Johnson at the Willard Hotel at the same time as Booth assassinated the President. But Atzerodt ran out of courage and instead made his way to Germantown.

Cloppers Mill

Clopper Grist Mill. Photo by Lewis Reed, ca. 1910

Clopper Mill (NOW): The ruins of this large brick and stone mill stand on the west bank of Great Seneca Creek, just south of Clopper Road near the intersection of Warring Station Road. The property was acquired by the State in 1955 as part of Seneca Creek State Park.

Clopper Mill ruins

Clopper’s Mill Ruins today.

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About Reed Brothers

I am a co-owner of the former Reed Brothers Dodge in Rockville, Maryland. Lewis Reed, the founder of Reed Brothers Dodge was my grandfather. We were a family-owned and operated car dealership in Rockville for almost a century. I served in the United States Air Force for 30 years before retiring in the top enlisted grade of Chief Master Sergeant in July 2006. In 2016, I received the Arthur M. Wagman Award for Historic Preservation Communication from Peerless Rockville for documenting the history of Reed Brothers Dodge in both blog and book format. This distinguished honor recognizes outstanding achievement by writers, educators, and historians whose work has heightened public awareness of Rockville’s architectural and cultural heritage, growth and development.

2 responses to “Then & Now: Clopper Grist Mill”

  1. William H. Trail says :


    Interesting post about Clopper’s Mill. In 1864, my great-great-grandfather, Barton Trail (1847-1891), was employed at the mill. On 10 July 1864, the day after the Battle of Monocacy, Barton signed up “on the march” and rode off as one of Jubal Early’s horse soldiers with Co. H., 17th Virginia Cavalry, Lomax’s Division, McCausland’s Brigade. Barton participated in the operations around Washington, DC, the burning of Chambersburg, PA, the battles of Early’s Valley Campaign — including action at Cedar Creek before being severely wounded and captured in November 1864 near Nineveh, VA. Barton was exchanged and witnessed the fall of the Confederate capitol first hand from Chimborazo Hospital. Captured again on 2 April 1865 when Richmond fell, he ended the war as a POW at Point Lookout, MD and returned home to Montgomery Co. Barton Trail is buried in the church yard of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church on Clopper Road, near the site of Clopper’s mill.

    All best,


    • Reed Brothers says :

      Hello William, Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to share your family’s fascinating story. Quite a few of my ancestors are also buried at St Rose of Lima Catholic Church.

      My Best Regards,

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