Cumberland Times-News

March 31, 2013

Few funding options remain for Folck’s Mill

Matthew Bieniek
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — Few funding options appear to be available to help stabilize the remaining walls at Folck’s Mill, a Civil War battle site in Allegany County.

One of the few remaining options might be expansion of the Canal Place Heritage Area, which could include the mill site and make it eligible for funding, a state official said.

“The Canal Place board of directors is in the process of considering an expansion of the boundaries of their heritage area, which might include the Folck’s Mill area,” wrote J. Rodney Little. Little works for the Maryland Historical Trust of the Maryland Department of Planning. If that happens, it could make the mill eligible for a Heritage Area Grant, Little said.

Little was responding to an inquiry from members of the District One delegation about possible funding to stabilize what’s left of the mill to aid its preservation.

The members of the District One delegation are state Sen. George Edwards, along with Delegates Kevin Kelly, Wendell Beitzel and LeRoy Myers Jr.

State budget cuts over the past few years have also dimmed hopes for the mill.

“The ... trust previously had several programs, which might have benefitted this particular project. ... However, each of these has been eliminated in the state budget for the past several fiscal years due to budget reductions and/or lack of staffing,” Little said.

Little added that no federal grants were available and two state programs would not work because state-owned properties are not eligible for the grants.

The two state programs were the African American Heritage Preservation program, which provides matching grants for capital projects related to African American history and culture and a sustainable communities tax credit.

“These are particularly lean times for historic preservation efforts,” Little wrote.

Preservation efforts for the site have been led by the Allegany County Civil War Roundtable.

The mill and battle site are located off Exit 46 of Interstate 68 East close to Naves Crossroad. Public access to the site is difficult from the highway.

The most important objective of the roundtable is to preserve the foundation of the mill, even though the actual building itself is long gone, according to previously published reports.

Small portions of the walls continue to stand.

Gen. Benjamin Kelly, commander of the Union forces, accomplished a successful defense of the city at the Battle of Pleasant Mill (locally known as Folck’s Mill).

This saved the city of Cumberland from planned destruction at the hands of rebel forces.

The fighting at Folck’s Mill was the largest and most important battle of the Civil War in Allegany County, according to roundtable members.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com. Staff writer Elaine Blaisdell contributed to this story.