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It’s All Water Over The Wheel

Craig County gristmill is a beacon of historic preservation

June 2023

Photos by Gregg MacDonald

NESTLED IN CRAIG COUNTY, VA., JUST A FEW MOUNTAIN MILES FROM THE WEST VIRGINIA BORDER, IS THE LITTLE HAMLET OF PAINT BANK, where you can find the Paint Bank General Store and Swinging Bridge restaurant, a unique and mysterious cow sculpture … and Tingler’s Mill.

“The General Store and Tingler’s Mill in Paint Bank are two of the major tourist attractions we have,” says Craig County Administrator Dan Collins.

According to a plaque outside the old waterwheel-powered gristmill, it has had a long and storied history. As a present-day fixture of Paint

Bank, its presence makes a grand statement about revitalization and historic preservation.

Diane Givens of the Craig County Historical Society says the mill — first erected in 1863 during the Civil War — was an important part of Paint Bank back in the day. It provided local farmers and residents with a means for making flour by grinding corn and wheat.

The mill’s namesake, Henry Tingler, was drafted into the Confederacy. He managed to return home early after pleading that his services as a miller were more valuable than as a soldier. He remained a miller for the remainder of his life.

In 1897 the mill was rebuilt and became known as Humphreys Mill. It was later sold to A.J. and Dorothy W. Tingler in 1971 and took back the Tingler name.

“Today Tingler’s Mill is owned by Nancy Baird Mulheren,” says Givens. “When Nancy’s husband John was still alive, they renovated it and fixed it up so people could go inside, which many people continue to do today.”

For more, visit visitcraigcountyva.com/paint-bank.