Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Real Water-powered Feedmill

A few months ago I learned that the Walters Falls Feedmill was actually still an operating water-powered mill.  I was astonished.  Though there were perhaps thousands of these scattered across Ontario 100 years ago, I didn't think there would be any commercial water-powered mills left.  I've been wanting to see how it operated ever since.

Our Photo Group leader had arranged for us to have a short tour of the mill, so we got to see the inside operation!  I was fascinated! 

Stepping into the mill, your first impression is the noise and the vibration.  The whole building is shaking, with a regular loud thump, the sound of the turbine down below.

There must be a dozen chutes for bagging grain, depending on what is being prepared at the moment.  I have visions of grain being lifted up from the bin where it's unloaded, soaring to the top of the mill, and dropping through various chutes back to the main floor, having been milled.

But let's do this in order, and start at the mill pond.  This is the second mill pond in Walters Falls, a much larger one than the one just above the falls, and mostly out of sight behind the mill.  The water level was high the day we were there.

The water backed up by the dam flows into the sluice pipe, heading downstream right beside the creek, toward the mill.

It's a long pipe down to the mill building, up in the air on concrete pillars.

When it hits the mill, it goes right inside, into the turbine, the excess spilling out over the wall.  Tomorrow, the tour continues inside the mill.


  1. The interior reminds me of a mill up here. Beautiful shots!

  2. Wow, I didn't think there were any water-powered mills left anymore. Very cool!

  3. I have had tours of a couple of these kind of mills, and they are AWESOME

  4. Fascinating stuff. I don't recall ever being in an operating mill like this, so appreciated the pictures.

  5. That's really interesting - and very educational for those of us that have never seen or been in one!

  6. Very interesting.. We have some similar mills around here in certain places. I love to tour them---and see exactly how they operate. SO educational. Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to see more.