Meet the Miller
Meet Jeanne Minor, probably the only National Park Service employee with an official job title of "Mill Operator." The miller for historic Peirce Mill since 2012, Jeanne was born in Olney, Maryland ("in the same hospital as my mom") and raised in Gaithersburg ("I actually still live on the same street as my mom, just a few houses down"). Prior to coming to Rock Creek Park in 2010, Jeanne served for 18 years as the National Zoo's Head Lion Keeper where she fed, trained, and took care of the lions and many other small cats and carnivores like coatis, caracals, cusimanse, servals, and leopards. She also worked "across the river" from Rock Creek at George Washington Memorial Parkway. Here, Jeanne answers four questions regarding working in Rock Creek Park and specifically at Peirce Mill.
What do you like best about Rock Creek Park?
The best thing about the park is that it is an oasis of forest in the middle of D.C. You can be downtown with all the buildings and pavement, and 10 minutes later be walking in the beautiful woods, hearing birds and seeing flowers. Of course, I really enjoy telling people about Peirce Mill; they are very interested in the technology of the mill.
Speaking of the mill, what do you like best about Peirce Mill?
Peirce Mill is a great piece of history, not only milling technology, but personal history for many of our neighbors here in D.C. Many people stop by and say that they used to come here as a kid with their parents; now they are bringing their kids. Some folks used to skip school and come here to swim in the creek; others just to seek a peaceful place to lunch.
What's the most challenging part about being the miller?
The most challenging part is the learning curve. But the miller training that I took with SPOOM [the Society for the Preservation of Old Mills] was great and I learned that I cannot turn on the mill and have it blow up!
What gadget in the mill do you like best?
I really like to see the gears and water wheel go 'round; and I would love to see the grain elevator in motion! It's beautiful seeing sparkling water on the water wheel being made into energy that runs a whole building of machines!