In the 1740s, pioneers traveling by river and road from Eastern Virginia and Maryland, and Scotch-Irish and German families, coming down the Carolina Road (originally known as the Great Warrior Path), settled in what would become Franklin County, then the most western county in Virginia.
The County was formed in 1786 from parts of Bedford and Henry Counties by an act of the General Assembly. It was named for Benjamin Franklin, then Governor of Pennsylvania, where many settlers originated.
Boones Mill originally developed around the site of a mill, established by the Boone Family in 1786. Agriculture has figured prominently in Boones Mill and Franklin County’s 200-year history and was the occupation of most county residents until recent times. Tobacco was a leading crop in early Franklin County.
The nineteenth century saw increasing industrialization. With the entry of the Norfolk and Western railroad in 1892, the Pumpkin Vine Route through the County and Boones Mill provided new access for industry. Tobacco factories, as well as diversified wood and textile-based industries, became significant components of the County’s economy. Boones Mill’s primary industry, North American Housing Corporation, closed in 2008. The former industrial site is being redeveloped by the Town for new businesses.
In 1927 the Town of Boones Mill was incorporated and comprised 525 acres. The Town’s boundaries have not been altered since that time.
In 2013 the Town of Boones Mill completed a survey of historic structures in the Town. The survey results and associated documentation will be used as part of an application to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources for designation of a historic district. There are 37 buildings and homes being reviewed by the Virginia Department of Historical Resources for placement on the National Register. This designation will open the door to some exciting future possibilities for the town and its residents including tax breaks for the restoration of historic properties, tourism marketing, and national recognition. The Town will help with outreach to ensure that property owners are fully aware of incentives and opportunities related to the historic designation.
The following is a list of historic structures in or near Boones Mill:
Antioch Church of the Brethren
John Arthur House
Bonbrook Baptist Church
Boone Milling Company
Boones Mill Methodist Church
Boones Mill Railroad Station
W.P. Clements Barn
Farmers and Merchants Bank Building
Taylor Hagey Place
Hickman’s Miller House
Kate Mills House
Norfolk and Western Railroad Station
Mark Taylor House
Tower for Wood Shavings
Wonderful images from Mike & Dianne Smith showing a touch of Boones Mill history.