Old Mills in the United States
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Pioneer Mill

The Pioneer Mill was built in 1822 by Josiah Hedges. He constructed a wooden dam just above the mill, the mill building and a home. The stone foundation used for the mill was quarried from the stone excavated to carve the millrace. In 1848 the mill was transferred to Hedges son-in-law Hunter. In 1865 Reuben Keller bought the mill. Keller improved the mill, and added a sawmill. In 1875, a fire destroyed the original structure. An intoxicated employee of Keller's built a fire in the office stove, fell asleep and almost lost his life. Keller rebuilt the mill with a 3 1/2-story frame. He continued to used buhrstones to grind flour until 1900 when he converted to roller mills.

Reuben Keller sold his mill to George and Edward Cunningham; brothers who married Keller's daughters. Subsequently, the mill was purchased by Joel Keller. Joel Keller's son George assumed the operations of the mill after his father's death in 1882. In 1891 the mill was sold to Henry and Sheldon Houser. Ervin Graves owned the mill for a short time and he sold it to Frank W. Bacon in 1901. Frank Bacon operated the mill until 1950 when the mill ceased operations.

The town of Tiffin suffered severe damage from the 1913 Flood, but the mill survived. As a result of the flood a 2-acre mound of brick and stone was deposited downstream of an existing island in the Sandusky River at the mill site. The mill ground up the brick and it was processed to pave the streets of Tiffin, including Riverside Drive.

In 1921, Bacon built a new stone dam just in front of a wooden one. Bacon said that part of the existing wooden dam was Josiah Hedges' dam. The carriage house addition was also constructed in 1921. A fire destroyed the upper portion of the mill in 1937 and the upper 1 1/2 stories were never replaced. All of the milling machines were destroyed. The milling equipment was replaced and Pioneer Mill functioned until 1950.

Today, Pioneer Mill has been converted into a restaurant. A functioning waterwheel is on display in the basement, which supplies electricity to the complex. The dam, millrace, and island add to the mill's charm. Plan for lunch or dinner at Pioneer Mill. It will be fun for the entire family! (Garber; "Pioneer Mill.")

DIRECTIONS: Seneca County. In Tiffin at 225 Riverside Drive on the Sandusky River.


Pioneer Mill, Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio.  Front Exterior.
Pioneer Mill, Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio. Dam.
Pioneer Mill, Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio. Sluice Gates.

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