As part of his series On the Waterfront, GM has been exploring the buildings that once made up Georgetown’s industrial heart. Today he turns to Georgetown’s last operating mill: Bomford’d Mill at the corner of Grace St. and Potomac.
Name: Bomford’s Mill
Built By: George Bomford
Current Use: Office Space
George Bomford was born in New York City in 1782. By 1804, Bomford enlisted in the Army where he had a successful career and was regarded as an expert in munitions. In fact, he invented the influential Columbiad, a seacoast defense cannon. The name Columbiad derived from a poem by Joel Barlow. In fact, Bomford married Barlow’s sister-in-law and purchased the Kalorama estate from his widow’s estate.
Bomford constructed the first mill on this site probably in 1832. It was a flour mill. However, it burned down in September 1844. The following year, rather than rebuild a flour mill, Bomford built a cotton factory. There are slightly conflicting accounts for the switch, but the most likely explanation is that there was less competition in the cotton market than in the grist mill market.
According to the records of the Columbia Historical Society, Bomford constructed a four story building with an immense water wheel. The interior contained 3,000 spindles and 100 looms. Over 100 men and women worked in the cotton factory. Continue reading