Variety Mills circa 1968. Va. Dept. of Historic Resources

Home Site – Nelson County, Virginia

Variety Mills is located on Rucker’s Run, a tributary of the Tye River. It is in a state of disrepair.


There were seven mills in the Variety Mills area. The oldest mill was the first of several buildings commissioned by Col. William Cabell, Sr. about 1760.  In addition to the three story stone merchant mill, there was “a flour mill, sawmill, shoemaker’s shop, rock hewn distillery, wood cooper’s shop, Union factory for producing wool and cotton before and after the Civil War and a dwelling with a kitchen.”  There was also a corn mill, a tannery and a store.  It was called Variety Mills because of the variety of items produced. 

The mill was built in two sections.  The oldest section of the mill is stone with a later frame addition.  The mill turbine wheel was on the building’s north face but was destroyed when state Rt. 655 was rerouted to pass directly in front of the mill. The mill has not functioned since 1918. The only other extant building at Variety Mills is an early 20th century frame store, which has been converted into a cottage. 

Timeline of Variety Mills Ownership

  • It was originally owned by Col. William Cabell, Sr. (1730-1798) and Col. William Cabell, Jr. (1759-1822) sold the mill and 700 acres to his brother-in-law, Robert Rives (married to Margaret Cabell) in 1814.

Additional Photos

Variety Mills, Va. Dept. of Historic Resources.