Paint Bank, Virginia is tucked away in Craig County and lies between Potts and Peters Mountains. It is said there are more buffalo than people in Paint Bank, and my recent trip there makes me believe this may be true. Locals brag about the dark skies lit with brilliant stars; the Milky Way marks a streak across the night sky, and meteors rain down, bolides among them. The red clay of Paint Bank was used to make both paint and bricks; thus the name.
Tingler’s Mill, still standing, was built in 1863 for grinding grain. The mill is comprised of hand-hewn logs and borders Potts Creek. The land originally was owned by Colonel William whose home, Smithfield Plantation, is situated on the Virginia Tech property here in Blacksburg. Preston led troops in the Revolutionary War and was awarded land grants for his service. Preston's granddaughter and her husband ultimately gained ownership of the property. The old mill was in operation for many years, and unlike most mills, the water to Tingler's was overfed.
Mining was an industry in Paint Bank until the Great Depression when the mining operations ended. This led to no need for the railroad, which soon abandoned the small community. As a result of economic depression, Paint Bank suffered and most residents eked out a living with small family-owned farms.
Today, the most notable structure is the old country store, the center of activity for more than 100 years. The original floors and tin ceiling are still evident, though there is little resemblance to a country store of old. It now houses a restaurant and sells items geared to the tourist trade. The photos that follow capture some of the flavor of Paint Bank.