Metamora Mill was established in 1847 by Jonathan Banes. Initially, the mill was used to process cotton into thread. The site was transformed into a flour mill in 1856. The original mill building was devastated by fire in 1883. The brick exterior of Metamora Mill was completed in 1897. The new mill was designed with the same footprint as designed by Jonathan Banes in 1847.
The Whitewater Canal was built from 1836 through 1865 and completed 76 miles. Jonathan Banes established Metamora Mill on the Whitewater Canal (in 1847). There were three other mills in the town of Metamora during the Canal Era. The Whitewater Canal supplied Banes with water to power his waterwheel. The Canal also allowed Banes the opportunity to transport his processed cotton into Lawrenceburg, Indiana and the Ohio River to sell at distant markets. The Canal was completed in 1843 to Cincinnati, Ohio. The canal system throughout, the then young United States, was doomed because of several important developments. Initially the flooding consistently broke down the canal embankments requiring tremendous repairs. Consequently, finances were not available to support the continued damage found after each flood. The eventual collapse of the canal system was the railroad. Interestingly enough, the railroad bought the land from the tow paths that followed canals. Here at Metamora Mill you will discover the railroad paralleling the historic canal.
Metamora Mill changed the mill's power from a wooden water wheel to a Leffel Turbine in 1868. The turbine had a 70” diameter and was installed in place of the water wheel. The original antique Leffel Turbine remains outside of the mill as an historical landmark.
In 1945 the Whitewater Canal Indiana State Historic Site created funding for the preservation of Metamora’s historical Whitewater Canal, the Locks on the canal, the Metamora Mill, and the covered bridge aqueduct. Indiana updated the canal and locks, set up the mill to grind corn in season, supports the canal boat and horses for visitors and a railroad steam engine for local trips. They use the Mill Store to set up all of the dates and times for such events. (765.647.6512) or www.indianamuseum.org
Today you will find Whitewater Canal Lock #25 adjacent to Metamora Mill. The State wanted to have water power to run the drive shafts, belts & pulleys in the basement (lowest level) of the mill so they could grind corn with mill stones as authentically as possible. In doing so, they set up a 12’ breastshot waterwheel inside Lock #25. Please view the water wheel and the sluice gates by clicking here.