Old Mills in the United States
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Ohio's Old Mill
Alphabetically by Town

By Town Name
Mill Name
2475 Massillon Road
Akron OH 44312

Tritts Mill
(gone but with pictures and history)
Tritts / Higy Cider Mill, Summit County, Ohio
Sauder Village Mill
Sauder Village Mill
Routes 56 & 682
Athens OH


Whites Mill
White's Mill, Athens County, OhioWhite's Mill, Athens County, Ohio.
Heabler Flour Mill
Heabler Flour Mill, Attica, Seneca County, Ohio
Routes 62 & 39
BetweenBerlin & Millersburg OH
Rastetter Woolen Mill
(gone but with pictures and history)
Rastetter Woolen Mill, Holmes County, Ohio
722 Clough Street
Bowling Green
Urschel Windmill
Urschel Windmill, Wood County, Ohio
Rummel Mill
(gone but with pictures and history)
Rummel Mill, Richland County, Ohio

Carroll County Historical Society
234 Autumn Road Southwest
Carrollton OH

Algonquin Steam Mill
Algonquin Steam Mill, Carroll County, Ohio.  Photographed 1990.Algonquin Steam Mill, Carroll County, Ohio.  Photographed 2011.
Barkhurst Mill
(gone but with pictures and history)
Barkhurst Mill, Morgan County, Ohio
Altman Woolen Mill
(gone but with pictures and history)
Altman Woolen Mill, Holmes County, Ohio
7604 Canal Road
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cleveland OH 44125
Wilson Feed Mill
Wilson Feed Mill, Cuyahoga County, OhioWilson Feed Mill, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Photograph 2011
Clifton Mills
Clifton Mill
Clifton Mill, Green County, Ohio
Crooked Tree
Ogle Planing Mill
(gone but with pictures and history)
Ogle Planing Mill, Noble County, Ohio
North Erie Street
Crystal Spring OH

Smith Mill
Smith Mill, Stark County, Ohio
Carillon Park Replica Mill
Carillon Park Replica Mill, Montgomery County, Ohio
Beiber / Wigton Mill
Wigton Beiber Mill, Delaware County, Ohio
Hinkle Mill
Hinkle Mill, Delaware County, Ohio
Rogues Hollow Road
Doylestown OH 44230
Chidester Woolen Mill
Chidester Woolen Mill, Doylestown, Wayne County, Ohio.
Beaver Creek State Park
12021 Echo Dell Road
East Liverpool OH
Gaston's Mill
Gaston's Mill, Columbiana County, OhioGaston's Mill.  Columbiana County Ohio
Beaver Creek State Park
12021 Echo Dell Road
East Liverpool OH
Hambleton Mill
Hambleton Mill, Columbiana County, Ohio
Stratton Mill
Stratton Mill, Belmont County, Ohio
Fowlers Mill
Fowler's Mill
Fowler's Mill, Geauga County, OhioFowlers Mill, Geauga County Ohio.
Kenyon Mill
(gone but with pictures and history)
Kenyon Mill, Knox County, Ohio
8148 Main Street
Garrettsville OH
Hopkins Old Water Mill
Hopkins Old Water Mill, Garrettsville,  Portage County, Ohio. Garrettsville Mill.  Hopkins Old Water Mill.  Garrettsville, Ohio. Portage Ohio.
Shuster's Mill
Shuster's Mill, Brown County, Ohio 1989Shuster's Mill. Georgetown, Ohio.  Brown County. 2012
Mudlick Mill
Mudlick Mill, Montgomery County, Ohio
313 S. Main Street
Germantown OH
Shuey Mill
Shuey Mill, Montgomery County, Ohio
Ring Mill House
Ring Mill, Monroe County, Ohio
6450 County Highway 34
Greenville, OH 45331
Bear's Mill
Bear's Mill, Darke County, OhioBear's Mill, Darke County, Ohio. Photograph 2011
Augspurger Mill
(gone but with pictures and history)
Augspurger Mill, Butler County, Ohio
McCoppin's Mill
(gone but with pictures and history)
McCoppin Mill, Highland County, OhioMcCoppin's Mill, Highland County, Ohio. Photographed 2011
Rock Mill
Rock Mill, Fairfield County, OhioRock Mill, Fairfield County, Ohio. Hocking River.
St. Rt. 3 South
Loudonville OH 44864
Wolf Creek Grist Mill
Wolf Creek Mill, Loudonville Ohio
261 North Main Street
Magnolia OH 44643
Magnolia Flouring Mill
Magnolia Flouring Mill aka Elson's Flouring Mill, Magnolia, Stark County, Ohio. Photographed 1988Magnolia Flouring Mill. Magnolia, Ohio, Stark County. Photographed 2011
Peerless Mill
Peerless Mill, Montgomery County, Ohio
Kister's Mill
Kister's Mill, Wayne County, Ohio
Morrow Roller Mill
(gone but with pictures and history)
Morrow Roller Mill, Warren County, Ohio
New Bremen
Lock Two Mill
Lock Two Mill, Auglaize County, Ohio Photograph 1989Lock Two Mill, Auglaize County, Ohio
7095 Staley Road
New Carlisle OH 45344
Staley Mill
Staley Mill, Miami County, Ohio Staley Mill.  Miami County, Ohio. Tipp City. Photographed 2011.
Ohio Township
Shafer Mill Ruins
Lane's Mill
(gone but with pictures and history)
Lane's Mill, Butler County, OhioLanes Mill, Oxford,  Butler County, Ohio. Collapsed.  Photo 5-25-2011.
2100-2198 County Highway 111
Piqua OH 45356
Loramie Flour Mill
(gone but with pictures and history)
Loramie Mills 1990. Piqua, Lockington, Shelby County, Ohio.Loramie Mills Collapsed. Piqua, Lockington, Shelby County, Ohio. Photo 6-5-2011.
450 N Main Street
Polk OH 44866
Ashland Polk Mill & Elevator
Port William
Joe Beam Mill
Joe Beam Mill, Clinton County, Ohio
13827 US 24 West (at SR 578)
Providence OH
(Opposite Grand Rapids OH)

Isaac Ludwig Mill
Isaac Ludwig Mill, Lucas County, Ohio
Rio Grand
Cora Mill
(gone but with pictures and history)
Cora Mill, Gallia County, Ohio
Rio Grand
James Beam Windmill
James Beam Windmill, Gallia County, Ohio
Springville Mill
Springville Mill, Wayne County, Ohio
Phoenix Mills
Phoenix Mills, Huron County, Ohio
Stockport Mill
Stockport Mill, Morgan County, OhioStockport Mill, Morgan County, Ohio.  Photographed 2011.  Turbines, Tailrace, Dam, Lock.
225 Riverside Drive
Tiffin OH
Pioneer Mill
Pioneer Mill, Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio.
Tipp City
Tipp City Roller Mills
Tipp City Roller Mills, Miami County, OhioTipp City Roller Mills, Miami County, Ohio. Photographed 2011.
7417 County Highway 47
Upper Sandusky OH
Indian Mill
Indian Mill, Wyandot County, Ohio

11324 Mount Vernon Road
Utica OH 43080

Ye Old Mill
Ye Old Mill, Licking County, Ohio
West Milton
Hoover Mill
Hoover Mill, Miami County, Ohio\Hoover Mill, Miami County, Ohio, Photograph 2011
8001-8321 Judas Road
Williamsport OH 43164
Bazore Mill
Fire Damage
Bazore Mill, Pickaway County, OhioBazore Mill.  Williamsport, Ohio. Pickaway County. Fire Damage 2011

3536 Bryan Park Road
Yellow Springs OH

Grinnell Mill
Grennell Mill, Green County, OhioGrinnell Mill, Yellow Springs, Ohio Photograph 2011
980 Canfield Road
Youngstown OH 44511
Lanterman's Mill
Lanterman's Mill, Mahoning County, OhioLantermans Mill, Mahoning County, Ohio. Youngstown. Mill Creek. 2011.
Gladstone Mill
Gladstone Mill, Muskingum County, Ohio

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Ohio Map Public and Private Mills



Overview of Ohio's Old Mills

How many active mills were in Ohio at one time?

D.W. Garber in his 1970 Waterwheels and Millstones: A History of Ohio Gristmills and Milling, tells us that there were 1,861 buhrstone mills in Ohio in 1840. Of that number, 536 were flourmills and 1,325 were gristmills. In 1860 there were 1,223 flourmills and gristmills. In 1870 there were 1,181 gristmills. In 1922 there were only 94 water-powered mills.

Ohio's Operating Mills Today

Of the 57 mills (to date as of 6-14-2011) documented in this website, at least 44 were at one time a flourmill. Today nine of these mills continue to produce stone-ground flour and cornmeal. Those operating mills that produce the flour and cornmeal today using water-power are Gaston's Mill in Columbiana County, Bear's Mill in Darke County, Clifton Mill in Greene County, Isaac Ludwig Mill in Lucas County, Lanterman's Mill in Mahoning County, Bazore Gristmill in Pickaway County and Hopkins Old Water Mill in Portage County. The Algonquin Flourmill in Carroll County produces flour once a year at their Fall Festival. The Algonquin Flourmill is powered with a steam engine. The Isaac Ludwig Mill also has a steam engine that is used as an alternative source of power when the river swells and they lose their head. There are 2 mills that produce stone-ground flour and cornmeal with electric power. They are The Evans Family Gristmill in Gallia County and Fowler's Gristmill in Geauga County.

White's Feed Mill in Athens County, Joe Beam Mill in Clinton County, Wilson Feed Mill in Cuyahoga County, Stockport Feed Mill in Morgan County, and Magnolia Feed Mill in Stark County operate as feed mills grinding there grains with modern equipment powered by electricity. Although these feed mills use modern equipment to process the grain, they are however, located in an old mill that exhibits hand-hewn beams and a landscape that indicates their heritage.

The Rastetter Woolen Mill in Holmes County operates an 1862 carding machine that produces woolen batting. Higy-Tritts Cider Mill in Summit County runs an 1898 cider press powered by water. Isaac Ludwig Mill in Lucas County and Kister's Mill in Wayne County operate a sawmill that is powered by water.

As you can see, Ohio has a number of unique and diversified historic old mills that are operating. Ohio has even more old mills that are dormant but aesthetically preserved.

The Operation of a Flour Mill

Because Ohio has numerous old mills that at one time functioned as a flour mill, let's try to understand the basic concepts of how a flour mill operated.

First the wheat must be cleaned. This is done by shaking the wheat over a screen that is only large enough to let the wheat pass through. The next step is to scrub the wheat. The wheat is transferred via elevators into a smut machine that scrubs off the fuzzy exterior of the grain. The remaining dust and dirt is removed from the wheat in a winnowing machine that pulls out the waste residue. Once the wheat is cleaned, it is stored in a hopper until the miller is ready to grind it.

When the miller is ready to grind the wheat it is transferred to the millstones via a series of elevators and shafts. Once the wheat is run through the stones the powdered flour is lifted to upper floors where it is sifted through bolting cloths often made of silk. Flour that is bolted (sifted) through the finest cloths (silk) was the best quality produced. Before sifters were available in mills, pioneers would take the flour immediately after it had been ground and sift it at home. It is necessary to sift the flour in order to remove the bran.

If a mill was to solely grind corn for cornmeal then there was no need to have more than one level in the mill. If, however, the mill was to be a multi-purpose mill, which most mills were, that is to grind cornmeal and wheat for flour, then it was necessary for the mill to have at least three levels. Cleaning, scrubbing, storing grain, grinding, sifting and storing the bagged flour required a multi-level complex to accomplish the various stages of processing wheat into flour. Each mill would be built to suit the demand that the miller thought would satisfy and serve his customers. Storage was a major consideration. If the farmers needed the mill to hold large quantities of grain, the miller had to accommodate that demand by building storage bins and hoppers.


Overshot Waterwheels in Ohio

Ohio has five excellent examples of the overshot waterwheel. Pine Run Grist Mill in Ashland County has a 16' diameter waterwheel with a 2' face. The face is the width of the buckets. The wooden troughs are the buckets. When the water fills the buckets, the water's weight moves the wheel. An overshot waterwheel receives its water above the wheel. An overshot waterwheel is the most efficient method of powering a mill when there is a limited amount of water supply because the overshot produces the greatest amount of head for the water to turn the wheel. Head is the force that the water has when it drops vertically from the millrace onto the wheel to the tailrace. The greater the distance is between the headrace and the tailrace, the greater the head. The overshot waterwheel was used when there was a dependable flow of water but when there wasn't a high rate of flow. The overshot waterwheel maximized the amount of accessible water-power.

The location of the mill determined whether a millrace was necessary. A millrace, also known as a headrace, was the channel that directed water from the stream to the waterwheel. The millrace was often several miles long. The reason the race would have to be so long was to build up the head of water so that the drop would produce enough power to move the wheel. The millrace would begin upstream and if the drop was significant over a short distance, it wasn't necessary to have a long millrace. If the land was relatively flat, the miller had to dig a millrace that was miles long. Often there wasn't an easy way to transfer the water from the millrace to the waterwheel and a wooden flume had to be built to make the final connection. An example of this type of wooden flume can be seen at Pine Run Grist Mill in Ashland County.

Once the water flows into the buckets and moves the wheel, the water is spent and must then be channeled back to the stream. The channel that it flows back to the stream in is called a tailrace. Usually the tailrace is not very long. It usually takes the shortest route back to the stream.

Additional functioning overshot waterwheels that are found in Ohio are at Gaston's Mill in Columbiana County, Lanterman's Mill in Mahoning County, Hopkins Old Water Mill in Portage County, Pioneer Mill in Seneca County, and Kister's Mill in Wayne County. The Hoover Mill in Miami County is the largest in diameter of the waterwheels in Ohio at 27'. It has a two foot face and has the water directed to it from the millrace through a wooden flume. The Hoover Mill has not been in operation for many years, but the large waterwheel makes the structure appealing. Carillon Park Mill in Montgomery County, Magnolia Mill in Stark County, and Chidester Mill in Wayne County have wooden waterwheels but they are not functioning. A 12' diameter steel, overshot waterwheel is functioning at the Bazore Mill in Pickaway County. Ye Old Mill in Licking County, and the Peerless Mill in Montgomery County display steel waterwheels but they are not functioning.


The turbine was introduced in the late 1890's. It operates on a similar principle as the tub wheel. The turbine is made of iron and the wooden round tub is replaced with iron and is composed of numerous doors on hinges that allows the miller to open the doors at varying degrees allowing as much water as he wants to pass through the turbine. The more water he releases into the turbine the faster the shaft will turn. The less water he releases into the turbine the slower the shaft will turn. With the advent of the turbine, many mills switched from wooden waterwheels to the iron turbines. Wooden waterwheels consistently had to be repaired. Rotten wood had to be replaced and the wooden wheel always had to be maintained in order for it to keep its balance. When the waterwheel became unbalanced the waterwheel would shake and the mill building would vibrate. The turbine required virtually no maintenance. Grease would have to be applied to the hinges every 2 or 3 years but otherwise, the turbine would last for 60 to 70 years before it would rust through and have to be replaced. The turbine also was an excellent conductor for energy, transposing it from the water flow to the power train. The water turbine was efficient and powerful. Consequently, the turbine experienced a positive response from millers throughout the United States, including Ohio.

There are four functioning mills in Ohio that use a turbine to power their mill today. Tritts Mill that operates as the Higy Cider Mill in Summit County runs an 1898 cider press powered by a turbine. Bear's Mill in Darke County operates an authentic flour mill powered by a water-turbine. Clifton Mill in Greene County is water-powered with a turbine. Isaac Ludwig Mill in Lucas County powers their flour mill, gristmill, and sawmill with two turbines. The turbines are dependable and powerful. However, the turbines are susceptible to one of the same problems that faced millers who used the wooden waterwheels. When the water in the stream rises during a flood, the head drops significantly and consequently, the drop between the millrace and the tailrace is reduced substantially to the point where the turbine won't function. Whenever possible, the miller would try to have an alternative power source. The steam engine became available in the late 1800's and the millers who could afford such a luxury, purchased one. Today, a steam engine has been restored and is used as an alternative power source in the Isaac Ludwig Mill in Lucas County. Their steam engine can supply the power necessary to run their flour mill, gristmill and sawmill when there is not enough head to power the turbines.


There are several other types of waterwheels that are not presently in use in Ohio today but are found in other parts of the United States. Many of the old mills in Ohio once used one of the following types.

Breast Waterwheel

The breast waterwheel uses the same design as the overshot waterwheel with the buckets. The water hits the waterwheel in the middle, propelling the wheel down. The water can be directed to hit high, middle or low on the waterwheel and still be classified as a breast waterwheel. This type of wheel was used when the flow of water wasn't swift enough to power an undershot wheel but the flow had enough velocity so that an overshot was not required. The overshot waterwheel and the breast waterwheel were often located in a wheel pit. The wheel pit is an enclosure for the wheel that was lined with stone. You can see a wheel pit at Shuster's Mill in Brown County.

Undershot Waterwheel

An undershot waterwheel was placed in such a manner so that when the headgate was open, the water flowed under the waterwheel propelling it to turn from the movement of the water striking three to four of the paddles at a time on the wheel. The undershot waterwheel was constructed with blades instead of buckets. Headgate is a term used for the gate that opened and closed allowing the water from the millrace to flow to the waterwheel. The headgate is also known as the sluice gate. What was referred to earlier as the wooden flume is also known as the sluice. This type of waterwheel could only be used where the flow of water was extremely high. It takes a great deal of velocity to turn a large wooden waterwheel. The undershot waterwheel was not as popular as the overshot but was used wherever there was an ample water supply and a rapid flow.

Flutter Wheel

The flutter wheel was a much smaller waterwheel. It functions just like the undershot waterwheel. It has seven or eight blades attached to the shaft and the water flows under the flutter wheel rapidly. This type of waterwheel was used in a stream or millrace that had an extremely high rate of flow and the wheel would turn rapidly. The flutter wheel was not a substantial type of wheel and therefore required consistent maintenance and had to be replaced often.

Tub Wheel

The tub wheel was another type of waterwheel. Like the flutter wheel and undershot waterwheel it had blades rather than buckets but its blades were attached to a vertical shaft at a 30° angle and was enclosed by a wooden round tub. The water would drop down on the blades forcing the blades to turn the vertical shaft. This type of waterwheel was often used in high velocity mountain streams.

The Mill Building Design

One variable that distinguishes each mill is its power source. In the early 1800's all of the mills in Ohio were powered with water and wooden waterwheels were used to turn the buhrstones. Although each mill used water to power their mills, the individual design for each mill had to reflect the position of the waterwheel relative to the stones. If the waterwheel's shaft was on the same level as the stones, there was no need to transfer the energy via gears, pinions, belts and pulleys to an elevated level. If, however, which was often the case, the waterwheel was positioned lower than the mill building itself, or if the waterwheel was located in the lower level, then the energy had to be transferred up to the level where the stones were located.

Usually the buhrstones were located on the entrance level solely because the weight of the stones prohibited the miller from carrying them up even one level. The stones could weigh as much as 2000 pounds each! The normal configuration of a mill would be where the wheel was located outside on the lowest level of the building (basement) and the stones would be located on the first level of the building (entrance level).

If the mill was designed as a flour mill, there would be at least two additional levels above the first floor. The flour mill would be filled with elevators and shafts that traveled from hoppers to scrubbers back to hoppers to elevators that accessed the stones. Once ground, the flour would be elevated to high levels so that it could go through various sifting stages and sorted by different grade levels.

Many old mill buildings are found precariously built on the edge of a river with the dam right at the mill sight. Other mills are located at an elevated level above the river to avoid spring floods. The mill site itself is often much older than the present structures that we find today. Early pioneers were skilled in identifying a successful location for mills. Initially, the pioneer would build a temporary mill where he would construct a sawmill. With the sawmill he would mill wood for the gristmill and the miller's house. Once the gristmill was completed, the sawmill would often be discarded because it was built for the short term. The gristmill would be placed in the optimal location relative to water-power and out of the yearly flood plain. The old sawmill would be transferred to an exterior shed on the new mill or discarded. The gristmills that were built in the early 1800's were small and only ground corn and wheat. Bolting flour in the mill was not accomplished until the population increased to the point where it was economically feasible for the miller to construct a multi-level building and invest in bolting equipment. Once the community grew large enough to support a flour mill, the gristmill was renovated or dismantled and replaced with a new multi-level flour mill. There are a few old flour mills left today that were built in the 1840's and 1850's. The reason that there are so few remaining is that the process of cleaning wheat, grinding wheat, and sifting flour created a combustible dust. Although the millers would clean their equipment and constantly remove the buildup of dust, explosions would often occur. The dust would start to decompose and produce enough heat where it would burst into flames. The old mill buildings were built solely of dry wood and they would ignite like a pile of dry kindling. Poof! The mill was gone. Consequently, many old mills were destroyed by fire. These multi-level flour mills that were built in the 1840's and 1850's usually burned within 10 to 20 years and then they were replaced with the buildings that remain today. This explains why most of the old flourmills that we see today, even the old ones, were built in the 1880's and 1890's. Many mills still burned in the late 1800's. It is just that the technology increased and the equipment that was installed in the latter 19th century was more refined. When adequately maintained the accumulation of flour dust did not occur.

Most old mills we see today were once flour mills and they date somewhere in the 1880's or 1890's. Most of the old mills are multi-level because they were once used as a flour mill. Today we can find old mills being used as theaters, warehouses, woodworking shops, distillery's, museums, restaurants, art galleries, craft stores, apartments, community service centers, antique shops, taverns or as private homes. Ohio's old mills are fulfilling many of these alternative uses today.

The Mill's Role in the Community

The mill sites in the early 1800's were established to serve local farmers. Transportation of farm crops did not become feasible until the advent of the railroad. Early mills were designed specifically to serve the local communities. Before the number of mills proliferated, it was not unusual for farmers to travel a day or two to take their grains to the nearest mill.

The mill was the hub of the community. It was the place where the local farmers would meet and discuss current affairs and socialize. The miller was recognized as a pillar in the community and his thoughts and ideas were respected. Because the mill became the focal point of the pioneer communities and because the mill was always located on a river, access to the mill was of great importance. Even when the rivers were swollen, the farmers still needed to have their grains processed so one of the first things that the community would allocate tax money for was the construction of a bridge at the mill. The combination of covered bridges and mills were a common sight in the late 1800's and the first half of the 20th century. Even with the flooded streams, the covered bridges allowed passage across the swollen rivers. When the mill sites were initially developed there were no neighbors, schools or stores around. Once a success, the mill became the nucleus of a new community. Trading and barter would be done at the mill. News and stories were shared there. Eventually other trades would build shops and stores would open near the mill because the mill was central to the community.

Deciding on the Type of Waterwheel

A skilled miller would look at a prospective mill site and determine what type of waterwheel would function best given the variables such as supply of water, rate of flow and physical location of the mill.

If the water propelled the wheel too fast it would burn the stones and equipment in the mill and eventually wreck the wheel. This happened once in a while when the sluice gate broke and the flow of water to the penstock was not controlled. The penstock is the area where the water is held immediately prior to the waterwheel. When the waterwheel would spin out of control the entire mill would start to shake and rattle. The stones would start to smoke, spinning so fast the stone would scar and all of the machines that were connected to the shaft at the time of accident would be at risk. The miller would immediately disengage the gears so that the wheel could not propel the power shaft.

Transferring Power from the Waterwheel to the Millstones

Often the waterwheel's shaft was not able to access the stones at the same level so the energy had to be transferred up at least one level. The waterwheel has a shaft that extends from the center of the wheel out to another wheel that has numerous teeth. The wheel with the teeth is called a crown wheel. This crown wheel turns and the teeth mesh with a cylinder that has round gears in it. This cylinder is called a lantern pinion. It is turned by the teeth in the crown wheel and transfers the energy up through a power train that is comprised of additional gears, shafts, pulleys and belts. The diameter of the lantern pinion is only one-fourth the diameter of the crown wheel. Subsequently, the lantern pinion moved 400% faster. Through transferring energy from larger to smaller gears, the millstones turned over 100 times each minute. Consequently, when the waterwheel would make one revolution each minute, the millstones would spin 100 times during that same minute.


Millponds were created as a result of damming up a stream. Dams were made of rock or wood. The rock dams ranged from a rubble construction to a wall of beautifully layered cut stone. McCoppin's Mill in Highland County is an excellent example of a cut stone designed dam. As a thin veil of water gently careens over the dam, the cut stone wall is still visible. It really is quite a site. The wooden dam construction ranged from brush to huge squared timbers. White's Mill in Athens County still displays the wooden dam with its cribbed construction. Once the dam was constructed, the back of the dam would be filled with brush or rubble and silt would eventually fill in and secure the dam's construction. When the dam would become eroded and a break would occur, the miller would lose business until the dam could be restored. When the dam broke it was a serious situation financially for the miller and it created a hardship for the community.

Behind the dam the waters would rise and often flood acres of land for many miles upstream. In the early pioneer days, farmers were grateful for the presence of the mill to grind their grains and didn't complain too much when the rising water consumed some of their land. However, with the increase in the settlement of the territories, there was always some dispute arising from the establishment of a new mill. When the dam was built it would often flood a farmer's field. Needless to say, that farmer was not too happy about the situation and the local town government often had to step in and settle the issue. Usually the town government ruled in favor of the mill because the community's need for the flourmill and gristmill far exceeded the loss of land to a few farmers. Water rights became an important issue to owners of mills and to the prospective buyers of established mills.

The water pool that forms above the dam is called the millpond. It is this supply of water that allows the mill to continue functioning during periods of low rainfall. The millpond is usually a distance upstream from the mill. A millrace is dug channeling the water from the millpond to the waterwheel. If a millrace is not acceptable, a wooden water flume is constructed to carry the water over valleys or areas where the height of the land is not able to sustain the head of water necessary to power the waterwheel.

Gates are constructed where the water from the pond enters into the millrace. These gates are called headgates or sluice gates. These gates are opened and closed according to the demand of water needed by the miller. Often there are gates built in the millrace just before the water spills onto the waterwheel. These gates are also called sluice gates and this area is often referred to as the penstock. In the penstock area it is possible for the miller to divert the water from the flowing millrace past the waterwheel back to the stream. The miller redirects the water flow with gates in the penstock and the water simply enters the tailrace without passing over or under the waterwheel or turbine. The gates in the penstock are used by the miller when he does not need the water supply because he doesn't have any grain to process and he does not want to run up and close the sluice gates at the millpond only to have to go back and open them when the water supply is needed.

Some beautiful millponds exist in Ohio. Bear's Mill in Darke County has a large millpond on the Greenville Creek. The millpond is about 1/2 mile upstream from the mill. Here is an excellent example of sluice gates at the millpond where the water enters the millrace. The millrace parallels the Greenville Creek, flows into the turbine under the mill and exits one level lower on the other side of the mill. It is fascinating! Clifton Mill in Greene County also has a millpond on the Little Miami River. Clifton Mill's dam is about one mile upstream and their dam creates a beautiful millpond. The millrace parallels the Little Miami River and supplies water to the turbine. Clifton Mill is perched above Clifton Gorge and the spent water from the turbine cascades down the rocky gorge into the Little Miami River. Mudlick Mill in Montgomery County also has an attractive millpond at the mill that produces a spectacular reflection in the mornings. Higy Cider Mill in Summit County has a huge millpond on the Tuscawarus River. Their millpond is at the mill site and offers a rare photographic opportunity with the reflection of the building, the pond and the dam. The Loramie Millpond in Shelby County is also impressive. Three other notable millponds include Pioneer Mill in Seneca County, Old Smith Mill in Stark County, and Kister's Mill in Wayne County.

Mills Located on Canals

In the middle 1800's many mills were constructed on canals because they were assured of a reliable source of water. A few of the mills that were built on the canals existed before the canals were a reality. They were built at that location just because they were near a river. When the canals were built, the existing mills and the ones that were built solely because of the canal's existence were guaranteed a successful business. One of the biggest problems faced by millers during the early 1800's was finding a market for their product. Easy transportation was not available in the early 1800's. Once the canal was constructed, however, the millers were able to tap into a regional if not state wide market. All of the mills on the canals prospered as a result of their premium location, which is until the advent of the railroad. Once the railroad had its infrastructure successfully in place, the canals were virtually vacated. Once abandoned, there was no reason to maintain them and even the few boats that traveled the canals were stopped within a couple of years because the canals became ruined by flooding and there were no more government funds to support their maintenance.

Today we have 9 mills in Ohio that are still in existence and are located on a canal. Two of these canal mills are still functioning today producing ground flour and cornmeal.

Gaston's Mill in Columbiana County operates in season. The water from the Sandy & Beaver Canal still supplies the water that turns the wooden waterwheel that powers the buhrstones.

Isaac Ludwig Mill in Lucas County is operating and receives its water supply from the Miami & Erie Canal.

The seven other mills that are not in production but are otherwise beautiful mills and located on a canal are as follows.

Lock Two Mill in Auglaize County is on the Miami & Erie Canal (not very attractive).

Hambleton Mill in Columbiana County is on the Sandy & Beaver Canal. The Hambleton Mill is an exquisitely restored stone structure.

Wilson Feed Mill in Cuyahoga County is on the Ohio & Erie Canal. The Wilson Mill's exterior isn't anything spectacular but the interior is impressive and the canal setting is singular.

Tipp City Roller Mill in Miami County is on the Miami & Erie Canal. The building is well preserved, large but not all that impressive. The lock at the mill is impressive though.

Loramie Mill in Shelby County is on the Miami & Erie Canal. The mill has been closed for some time but it still has a distinctive atmosphere. The building, the millpond and the canal combine for an interesting setting.

The Magnolia Flour Mills in Stark County is on the Sandy & Beaver Canal. The building is big and beautiful. The railroad depot and the canal make this location a striking mill site.

The Old Smith Mill in Stark County is on the Ohio & Erie Canal and is spectacular in its stone construction and its accessibility to the canal.

Mill Construction

There are a few mills in Ohio that are simply outstanding just because of their construction.

The Stratton Mill in Belmont County is spectacular! It was built with rubble stone that was excavated when a local railroad tunnel was constructed. The stones used in the building range in color from pink to red and gray to black. The stone work and the material used make the Stratton Mill unique.

Shuster's Mill in Brown County is deserted and all of the windows are gone but the structure of the building is still beautiful. The building is half stone and half brick and the combination is striking.

Lane's Mill (now collapsed) in Butler County is also vacant but it is locked and secured. It is 2.5 stories of cut limestone. It is quite pretty but the back wall has some large cracks, which I think has destroyed the integrity of the building. I don't know how much longer it will stand. Maybe it will surprise me. Last visited 7-6-98 and it's character had changed. It is overgrown with brush trees.

The Hambleton Mill in Columbiana County has been restored and is one the most impressive mills standing in Ohio today. It is constructed of large cut sandstone. Standing 2.5 stories tall, it is vacant. There are no floors or internal walls, just the shell remains. It is beautiful just the same.

If you want to be wowed by the most spectacular ruins in Ohio today don't miss Beiber Mill in Delaware County and Phoenix Mill in Huron County. Each are independently exquisite. Although in a state of ruins, Beiber Mill and Phoenix Mill will show you architecture of stone construction that will not be witnessed anywhere else in the United States. You will not be disappointed!

Steam Powered Mills

In the early 1900's steam engines were available and, if a miller had the funds, it was a good investment which allowed him to have a supplemental power source. When the rains came and the rivers swelled, the head of water was gone and the miller had no power to run his mill. The steam engine could be connected to the power train with another set of belts and the mill was back in business.

Steam engines were used to power Lock Two Mill in Auglaize County, Stratton Mill in Belmont County, Aultman Mill in Holmes County and Heabler Mill in Seneca County. Algonquin Mill in Carroll County functions once a year at their Fall Festival where they produce flour and cornmeal.

You can witness firsthand the action of a steam engine at the Isaac Ludwig Mill in Lucas County. It has been restored and is in excellent condition. Their steam engine is used as an alternative source of power when they lose their head that supplies the turbines.

Unique Characteristics of Ohio's Old Mills

This is a list of mills that I would love to see over and over again!

Whites Mill in Athens County has a log crib dam.

Stratton Mill in Belmont County has a rubble stone construction.

Shuster's Mill in Brown County is constructed with brick and stone and has a tunnel to carry the water to the waterwheel and a tunnel to carry the water from the waterwheel back into the stream.

Lane's Mill (now collapsed) in Butler County is built with beautiful cut limestone.

Algonquin Mill in Caroll County powers their flour mill with a steam engine.

Joe Beam Mill in Clinton County is constructed with block made at the site and the dam is constructed at a natural waterfall.

Gaston's Mill in Columbiana County is at the site of a lock on a canal and functions with a large wooden waterwheel that powers their buhrstones.

Hambleton Mill in Columbiana County is constructed with large cut sandstone. The water from the canal was channeled to enter under the building near the entrance and exit on the right side of the building, then the tailrace led back to the stream.

Bear's Mill in Darke County is the one of the most authentically functioning flour and grist mills operating in the United States today. One of the MANY characteristics that makes this mill so appealing is the walnut siding. The walnut siding gives the mill building a rustic texture and real country charm.

Beiber Mill in Delaware County is one of the most spectacular ruins in the United States. It has huge stone walls and cathedral windows. The stone work is fabulous.

Rock Mill in Fairfield County is unique because its physical location looms over the Hocking River Headwaters and the gorge has cut through the earth and exposed layers of rock. The millrace at Rock Mill is cut in solid stone. The location is exciting but Rock Mill is seriously deteriorated and its continued existence is in question.

Clifton Mill in Greene County is a beautiful mill. Perched on a cliff looking down into Clifton Gorge, the Clifton Mill site exhibits an exciting millrace, a waterwheel display and the tailrace waters cascade over the rocky gorge back into the Little Miami River.

McCoppin's Mill in Highland County has the most beautiful stone dam at the mill. As the water rushes over the dam the stones are visible through the veil of water and the effect is dazzling.

Only the Beiber Mill in Delaware County rivals Phoenix Mill in Huron County. The stonework at Phoenix Mill would tantalize and awe any architect. The art of stonework exhibited here is evidence of a masonry skill not witnessed in today's work.

Raestetter Woolen Mill in Holmes County operates with a 1862 carding machine.

Lanterman's Mill in Mahoning County is a 6.5 story construction with the first four levels laid in stone and the top 2.5 stories built of wood. The building is massive and beautiful and is located at a natural 23' waterfall. Only the fact that the mill is operated as an authentically restored gristmill can enhance the splendid mill setting.

Isaac Ludwig Mill in Lucas County is an excellent example of an authentically restored, functioning gristmill, flour mill and sawmill. Powered with turbines and a steam engine, Isaac Ludwig Mill is on a canal and exhibits a rich history.

Staley Mill in Miami County is closed and secured. Access is not possible without permission but the rear of the mill exhibits two wooden shafts that used to be attached to a double set of waterwheels. Fascinating!

Mudlick Mill in Montgomery also exhibits two wooden shaft stubs that used to be attached to a double set of wooden waterwheels. Mudlick Mill sits at the millpond and the reflection of the structure in the morning is breathtaking.

Rummel Mill in Richland County is nothing short of a treasure. The exterior is reminiscent of an early 1800 mill building. The interior holds artifacts of the milling era of yesterday. Preserved and protected, Rummel Mill is spectacular.

Magnolia Flour Mills in Stark County is a huge building. Painted red, the multi-story complex exhibits huge hand-hewn beams, antique flour milling equipment and an old wooden waterwheel that no longer functions. The mill site includes an old railroad depot and the Sandy & Beaver Canal was the source of water to turn the old wheel.

Tritts Mill, A.K.A. Higy Cider Mill, in Summit County operates an 1898 cider press every fall and winter. The machinery is authentic and is powered by a water turbine. Higy Cider Mill is the sweetest smelling mill in Ohio.

Windmills in Ohio

Cape Cod has 14 beautiful authentic windmills. Sulfolk County, New York, boasts of 11 windmills. Ohio only has two windmills. These two windmills were built with the objective of using wind-power to supply energy. Urschel Windmill in Wood County was originally built to run a water pump. Unfortunately, the project never came to fruition but the windmill is still standing with four masts.

James Beam Windmill is located in Gallia County. Originally built in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, as a gristmill, the James Beam Windmill functioned for several years providing ground cornmeal for family and friends of the builder. The Bob Evans Farm purchased, moved and preserved the mill on their farm in Gallia County. Although it is no longer a functioning mill, the structure is authentically preserved.

Building a Mill

If I was struck by any one thing that I found consistently at each mill site, it was the inconsistency of design. I have been to approximately 400 mills and I can tell you unequivocally that there are no two mills alike, NOT even similar. There is a fundamental reason why each mill is independently different from any other mill. When the miller identified a location for his mill, he had to take into account the location of the stream relative to the prospective mill site. The miller had to design the millrace and how it would connect with the waterwheel. He had to account for the geology of the immediate area. Ohio has two mills where the millrace had to be dug in rock in order for the water to run to the waterwheel. These rock millraces can be found at Rock Mill in Fairfield County and Pioneer Mill in Seneca County. The miller has to assess the distance and fall of the stream so that the head of water would be sufficient to turn the waterwheel. There are more than several mills in Ohio that have a millrace that exceeds a two mile distance because the surrounding land was so flat that in order for the miller to get the head necessary to move the waterwheel the water had to travel a greater distance. Some sites in Ohio, the miller built the mill at a natural waterfall and there was no need for a millrace. He simply channeled the water into and through the mill (if the waterwheel was an interior one such as Lanterman's Mill in Mahoning County) or he built a short wooden flume to direct the water at the exterior waterwheel which was constructed at the dam (such as indicated at the Joe Beam Mill in Clinton County). The design of each mill was dictated by the accessibility of water-power.

Each mill was built of different materials. If stone was available and if there was someone who had the masonry skills to build the mills with stone, it was done. Stone mills were an expensive method of construction but the stone mills that remain are spectacular. Most often, the miller, the one who owned and operated the mill, was the person who constructed the mill. Consequently, the mill's construction represented the miller and he took great pride when designing and building the mill. The miller was a respected member of the community and the pride that he took in constructing his mill can still be witnessed today. Whatever skills the miller possessed, whether it be masonry, crafting huge logs into hand-hewn timbers for trusses in the mills, or creating ornate trimming, each mill that remains stands as a monument to the miller who initially secured the site for the mill and constructed the building that housed his business for many decades.

There were no rules on how to build a mill. Being a miller was a trade. Young boys would apprentice to a miller for as many as 10 years before they would learn all of the skills necessary to function as a miller. He would not only have to know how to build the physical mill building itself, but he would have to know how to build and maintain all of the machinery that would fill the structure. As there were no rules on how to build a mill, there were also no "official rules" on how to construct the machinery within the mill. But there were some constants that each miller had to anticipate. First the miller had to know how to identify a site that would be acceptable to powering a mill. Second the miller had to be able to construct a sound building that would be able to access the harnessed water-power. Third, the miller had to be mechanically inclined. A miller had to be a skilled individual. He had to understand geometry, tooling, and be gifted with an instinct so that just by listening to his mill operate he could tell if any of the gears, pulleys, or shafts was malfunctioning. A talented, skilled professional, the miller would design his mill to meet the demand of the community to accommodate their needs for grinding and storing their grain. He would have to design his mill for the site requirements (water-power, floods, and access). And finally he would design his mill to reflect him personally and it was this variable that makes each mill singularly unique. I loved discovering what made each of the historic old mills special.

Remnant Aspects of Old Mills in Ohio

While doing the research on the old mills I became fascinated by remnants that I would find. In Delaware County in front of the old Hinkle Mill (permission required to visit) there are two huge millstones displayed with a cannon ball. The cannon ball was neat but what I was most impressed with was the color of one of the millstones. I have seen dozens of millstones but this one was beautiful. It was made of pink granite. Whenever I think of millstones, this pink and white stone comes to mind.

The Old Morrow Roller Mill in Warren County is in ruins. The brick walls have collapsed and the place is a mess. The site however has a long millrace so I naturally followed it to find where the channel accesses water from the Little Miami River. It was almost a mile upstream and there I found a set of sluice gates. The area had obviously not been maintained for some time but, for whatever reason, the remnant sluice gates left an impression with me. I guess it is just from exploring the area, I could sense how the workers felt as they dug the long millrace. I could imagine how much work it took to install those massive sluice gates. The area around the sluice gates talked to me and it made a lasting impression. I'll never forget that old wooden frame.

I found a remnant wheelpit at Shuster's Mill in Brown County that captivated me. It is located on the north side of the mill. This wheelpit is lined with stone and is huge. The stones are crumbling into the pit. What really interested me about this pit is that all of the research I had done on the mill prior to my visit indicated that the mill had an interior waterwheel. Apparently, at some time there was an interior wheel but there once was obviously an external waterwheel located in this pit. The place where the shaft entered the building is still identifiable which verifies the wheels past existence. I really like that wheelpit probably because it is one of only a few I have ever found. When something is rare, it is just naturally more appealing. The masonry in the wheelpit is exceptional. It is only enhanced by the masonry that is exhibited in the entire stone and brick building.

The wooden dam at White's Mill in Athens County intrigued me. It is severely damaged and just remnants remain but there is a portion of the log crib construction left and it is beautiful.

The old Augspuger Mill (now raised) in Butler County is a disappointment. All of the old windows are gone and have been replaced by single pane double hung modern windows which look dreadfully out of place on the old building. Regardless, I was charmed by the brick design above the windows and doors. There is a plaque near the front door that says "1872." I fell in love with the veneer of that old building. I would just love to see it occupied! It is seething with rich history but it needs to be inhabited.

At the Kenyon/Gambier Mill I found an old, dirty paper bag that was once used to bag flour. It was printed with




Midget Maid




49 Lbs. Net

It was exciting to me to have found a piece of history. This is sometimes when I wonder if I have listed the mill with the correct name. When mills have had numerous names it is often difficult to choose the one that should be listed first. I have an excellent photograph of that flour bag. The old flour bag is one of my favorite finds. Of course the flour bag remains at the mill. I still treasure the photograph and the memories of finding it and photographing it.

There is an old iron turbine that is displayed in front of the Isaac Ludwig Mill in Lucas County. I have found maybe 6 or 7 old turbines displayed or discarded in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts but this is the only one that I am familiar with in Ohio. It caught my attention because it was an opportunity to witness first hand the hinged doors surrounding the blades that were attached to the shaft. I have seen dozens of sketches and a number of operating turbines but they were submerged. I just didn't get how a turbine functioned until I saw that old turbine and the miller graciously explained in great detail how it worked. It was then that I truly understood how a turbine functioned and what the importance of maintaining a good head of water was.

Old remnants, such as the turbine, were wonderful teaching tools that helped educate me about how a mill functions. When exploring an old mill site, look around and learn how to interpret the landscape and investigate all of the old remnants you stumble across. They are the voices that will enlighten you to the secrets of yesterday's milling.

Millstones in Ohio

Old millstones are no longer a common site at a mill. Once the old stone had seen its useful days, it would be placed outside the mill for decoration. Sometimes the millers would place the millstone in the ground and they would act as part of a sidewalk. You can find millstones partially submerged in stream beds such as at the Lanterman's Mill in Youngstown, Ohio. Once a millstone was spent, it was no longer of any use to the miller and it was discarded in one way or another.

The first millstones used in the United States were in the windmills and early gristmills on the eastern seaboard. The millers who settled in Massachusetts and New York imported these stones. The millers brought the stones with them when they came to this country with the intention of building a mill and using them to grind grain. These stones were often from France and that is where the term French buhr came from. It was a granite quarry in La Ferte-sous-Fauarre in France that the finest millstones were quarried. The granite from this quarry was extremely hard. This is why it made such high quality millstones. The few photographs that have been taken of the true French buhr stones show the stone's color as white. During the late 1700's and the early 1800's the French buhr stones were imported to the United States from France and carried here in ships as ballast.

The quarry in La Ferte-sous-Fauarre was depleted by the middle 1800's. The true French buhr stones were in great demand by millers in the United States but they were very expensive. Because of the high demand for such quality stone and because the true French buhr millstones were so expensive, a miller devised a method of using fragments of the granite stone and banded them together to create millstones. This served many purposes. While mining and preparing the true French buhr stones at La Ferte-sous-Fauarre, fragments of the quality granite were discarded at the site as useless. Once this banding method became known in France, the quarry started shipping just the fragments over in the ships as ballast. These fragments and the banding method allowed millers who could not afford the true French buhrs the ability to buy stones that still offered the superior quality of the granite from France.

To obtain millstones in Ohio, millers would often cart stones for hundreds of miles to their mill. Consequently, the demand was high for millstones and a number of quarries opened in Pennsylvania and a few in Ohio, which helped supply the stones locally.

"Dependence upon imported French buhrs and buhrs from Pennsylvania quarries was eased somewhat about 1805 at least for millers in southern and western Ohio when a man named Musselman, in present Vinton County, discovered granite of excellent quality and in ample quantity to justify the manufacture of buhrstones. Because the quarry was located near Raccoon Creek, the millstones were called Raccoon buhrs. For many years this was an active industry; by 1822 the quarry employed fourteen men and two women shaping the buhrs." (Garber, D. W. Waterwheels and Millstones: A History of Ohio Gristmills and Milling. Page 78).

Millstones made of granite were the superior stone to mill wheat and corn and the only kind of stone used for the milling of grains for human consumption. Sandstone millstones were used to grind grains for animal feed. The sandstone could not be used for human consumption because during the grinding process the sandstone would disintegrate and be ground into the grain. Because the sandstone stones were ground away during the process, there are few examples of these old millstones left today.

Today, granite millstones can be found throughout Ohio on display at museums and privately at old mill houses. They are used as decoration and as walkways. Millstones that are operating are identified in "Ohio's Operating Mills Today." At many of the operating mills, there are displays of discarded millstones. There is a millstone that is used as a base for a water pump at the Algonquin Mill in Caroll County. A banded millstone is on display at Bear's Mill in Delaware County leaning against the mill building. One of the best displays of millstones at one of Ohio's mills is found at Lanterman's Mill in Mahoning County. (Adams, Brozek, Erickson, Garber, Neagley, Nicosia, Page).

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