Tri-City History: Swift Creek Mill

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This building housed what is believed to be the oldest grist mill in America, dating back to Virginia’s early settlers. The building was built by Henry Randolph I. During the first 200 years, ownership of the building changed hands many times. Uses also different from manufacturing to a distillery for corn whiskey.

The professional playhouse was started by three local families in 1965. In the late 1980’s the Mill was purchased by another local family, whose experience in the education system prompted them to add educational youth programming.

The 300 year old Mill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a registered Virginia Historic Landmark. Renovated in 2013, the mill building is now ADA compliant, but still retains the charm that it has held for centuries. The mill was adapted for use as the Swift Creek Mill Theater in the 1960s.


In the heyday of American theatre, thousands of theatre-goers flocked to The Mill for every production via tours, corporate parties, and other groups. Then the cultural landscape changed, and many small playhouses closed nationwide. The Mill, however, survived, thanks to all the local people.

Today “The Mill” serves a restaurant and playhouse, delighting audiences with dinner and theatrical productions since 1965. For a schedule of performances and costs, call 804-748-5203, or visit Swift Creek Mill is located at 17401 Jefferson Davis Highway (US Route 1), Colonial Heights, VA 23834.

Swift Creek Mill

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