Monday, March 30, 2015

Mills and Mill Ponds in the Valley

There's quite a number of other features around the Beaver Valley that I'd like to point out, among them the old mills and mill ponds that seem to be found in every town and village.  As I chase these down and investigate, I realize that almost every settlement of any size in the valley grew up around one or more mills, mostly saw and grist mills.

This is the old mill in the small village of Kimberley, right in the middle of the valley near us.  As you can see, it's been repurposed and restored and is now in use as a winery - this is a 'make your own wine' operation.  Behind this sign is another indicating the grist mill is from 1877.

It's easy to see that it's been restored; it's in good shape.  The winery is in the basement, and upstairs it's a residence.  This is the most easily visible remaining mill and mill pond in the entire valley.  I need to read some more local history to understand how important these mills were in determining today's settlement pattern, but I think they were very important.

Just behind the mill and the adjacent community centre is the small mill pond, located on a small tributary of the Beaver River that flows down from springs up on the escarpment just south of the Old Baldy cliffs.

This is the old mill in Flesherton, with the mill dam just out of sight among the trees on the right, and the mill pond immediately upstream.  This mill has been repurposed as an interesting residence.

The mill pond here is much bigger than the one in Kimberley, running a larger combination grist and sawmill.  You can see the water tumbling down over the dam in the upper right, crossed by a road into several houses.

And this is the larger mill pond, with the intake for the mill race still visible here under the water.  This is on the Boyne River which joins the Beaver deep in the narrow part of the valley below Eugenia Falls.  All these pictures were taken 10 days ago; the ice on the ponds is steadily melting.

Though I don't have good pictures, I could take you to several other old mills, in the village of Feversham, in Thornbury where the Beaver River enters Georgian Bay, and elsewhere.  I've become quite interested in these bits of evidence of earlier history; they're an important part of the landscape of the watershed.

Blustery wind and fresh snow here; the world is still white outside.  Hope spring comes soon!


  1. There's a mill here on the Quebec side of the river that got converted into a hotel. I like these shots!

  2. There was a community over the hill from our house called Jewetts Mills and it had a saw mill and a grist mill on the Mactaquac Stream which flowed into the St. John River. When the Mactaquac Dam was built in the 1960's the valley was flooded and the village uprooted. My husband's aunt and her brother wrote a book called "The Vanished Village" about the history of the community as it was in the early days up until it's demise. Parts of the mill are at Kings Landing Historical Settlement which was constructed as a tourist and historic site (I've done many posts about it) of the way of life in the river valley. There is also a family connection to Jewetts Mills. Mills certainly played a large part in a rural community as a way of life, a place to have logs cut for building and grain ground for flour. I enjoyed your photos today.

  3. Love those old mill buildings! Interesting that some of them are now used as residences.

  4. We have a mill pond of a different sort. It isn't used to capture water to run the mill, it is used as a protected area to store logs before transport, and to keep barges of sawdust and finished paper from the paper mill safe from ocean waves. Ours is quite large and bounded by old cement ships from the Second World War. - Margy

  5. Great pictures today. Love the old mill, and have seen one near New Salem in Illinois.

  6. Thanks for the great pictures, again. I am still amazed at how different our countryside is at this time of the year. :-)

  7. I love the old Grist Mills! Wonderful scenery and photos.. The winery is interesting too. Have a happy week!

  8. Beautiful photos ! I wish our main street here in our valley village that once flourished in lumber mills and shops in the 18oo's would come alive again some how , it is a small ghost town with only a few shops and a restaurant and lots of old abandoned buildings . Vienna Ont is a pretty valley village and even more so if it was to get another chance to grow ! Thanks for sharing , have a good day !

  9. The Hamlin Dam where I hike often was first built for a mill. Lots of shingle mills around here.