Chuckatuck Grist Mill getting new purpose

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 2, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Growing up, Sharon Krumpe remembers her mother’s stories about going to the Chuckatuck Grist Mill with her father to have the family’s corn crop ground into meal.

The Chuckatuck resident vividly recalls her own trips to the ice plant – which occupied the building once the mill shut down in the 1960s – during her childhood, usually when her family was making homemade ice cream.

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Soon, Krumpe will be making memories to be shared with future generations of the Chuckatuck family.

Krumpe and her husband, Paul, recently paid for $225,000 the 6,000-square-foot grist mill that, for the most part, has sat empty since Village Floral Designs closed up shop about four years ago.

Aside from a person renting the second-floor apartment, the only occupant has been the Nansemond Indian Tribe, which leases a small portion of the building for its tribal museum. Neither tenant has to leave due to the sale, she said.

&uot;I’ve always had real fond memories of the mill,&uot; said Krumpe, an Isle of Wight County native who earned her doctorate in counselor education from the College of William and Mary in December 2002.

Earlier this year, she said, the couple began looking for rental office space where she could open her counseling practice.

&uot;We started talking about it and realized we could kill two birds with one stone,&uot; Krumpe said. &uot;…We realize that this is going to be a major undertaking but we believe that we possess the necessary skills for renovation.

&uot;And Paul absolutely fell in love with the beautiful property and was fascinated by the workings in the basement.&uot;

The grist mill has played a vital role in shaping Suffolk’s history over the years.

According to local historian Lynne Rose, the mill, originally built in the 1650s, was initially for Colonial settlers in the area.

The original building was destroy by fire and rebuilt in the early 1800s.

In times past, barges and packet boats reportedly came to the nearby headwaters of the Chuckatuck Creek, carrying or delivering crops to the mill for be ground into a more usable shape.

Also, the mill’s water-powered wheel at one time generated electricity for the village of Chuckatuck.

The Krumpes moved to Suffolk 11 years ago, when they bought the house where the late Gov. Mills E. Godwin Jr. was raised. They have spent much of the decade involved in the ongoing renovation of the house.

Krumpe plans to make sure the mill retains its unique character.

&uot;We plan to keep the office environment rustic but comfortable,&uot; she said.

She is planning to open her practice in late summer.