This National Historic Place was constructed in 1906, and played an important role in the development of Carson Valley. Its original owner was instrumental bringing the railroads to Carson Valley, and helped spur the growth of electric power to the area. By the 1920s, the mill had become one of the largest in the state, processing 100 barrels of flour a day as well as chicken and cattle feed. It shuttered its doors in the 1960s and changed ownership several times until being purchased by the Bently family. It now functions as the public house and distillery for the estate, where we distill single malt whisky.

Stewards of History

Christopher Bently grew up in Carson Valley. As a child he played inside the Flour Mill and Creamery buildings. These structures are part of the heart and soul of this area, and his goal is to safeguard that history.

Though the Bently Heritage construction process was intensive, it was being carefully orchestrated to minimize waste and preserve everything, right down to the bricks of the building itself.

From a building’s old bones to the original artifacts left from a time and place long gone, we believe that these things inform our identity and provide opportunities for our community’s future … a dialogue with the old and the new.

To this end, we worked closely with the Nevada Historic Preservation Office and the National Parks Service to follow their Historic Preservation Standards and Guidelines.

Future Generations

The word “preservation” isn’t just about sustaining a building’s existing form, but protecting it for future generations. We focused on repair rather than replacement; on maintenance rather than remaking.

This might sound simple enough, but it means that some structural pieces of the building had to be removed or rebuilt in order to fully update mechanical, electrical, support, and plumbing systems.

Wherever we rebuilt, we carefully removed the original materials, got the work done, and then put the pieces back together. We even had to remove the original roof and then put it back on, piece by piece.

Other original materials that were preserved or reused include bricks, timber, railroad ties, rail line, and roof trusses. The process was a little like taking apart a jigsaw puzzle and then putting it back together.

Hidden Treasure

When you deconstruct old buildings you’re never quite certain what’s been lost to time. The mill building was full of historic equipment. To properly save all this original machinery, we hired a historian who specializes in flour mills to identify, catalogue, and preserve more than two dozen pieces of equipment.

The first rediscovery was the roller mill, a commonly used machine for milling flour that was made by E.P. Allis & Co., a famous Milwaukee machine maker.

When our historian looked inside he found corrugated rollers, he immediately learned something about the mill’s history: the rollers weren’t actually configured for rolling, but rather for feed grain.

Another surprise is the barley mill, which likely pre-dates the building; its presence here remains unexplained.