Recently, my wife and I traveled back to Russia to visit her Mother for the weekend, so on Sunday afternoon, we planned an activity for the three of us. While growing up, for some reason, I spent very little time in Darke County so decided to explore on-line what the county had to offer and found that Bear’s Mill was holding a fall open house. None of us had ever heard of or been to Bear’s Mill, so off we went for the short ride from the friendly confines of Roo-shee to the old gristmill built in 1849 between Versailles and Arcanum.
My wife and her Mother enjoyed the mill store while I took a self guided tour of the old mill, exploring all the floors Included was a gristmill demonstration that was very interesting. The mill was built over a fast flowing tributary of the Greenville creek next to a dam created to power a turbine that turned the gristmill on the floor above.
Meanwhile, the ladies were surprised to discover a beautiful art gallery connected to the mill store that they really enjoyed.
The gift shop offered candy buckeye balls for $1 each, but my mother-in-law didn’t want one saying they were too expensive; she could make the whole plateful for that price!
With our appetites whetted, we moved outside for some apple cider and soup that was delicious. A two person band was playing the violin and banjo next to an open fire that we enjoyed with our food.
That respite gave me a chance to tour the grounds around the mill and take some more photos.
The old mill even generated its own electricity powered by a water-driven turbine just like the gristmill. The electric generator must have been retrofitted years later well after the 1849 mill construction as Thomas Edison didn’t invent the generator until the 1870’s.
For a virtual tour of the old mill, click on this link.
We took a photo in front of this Ford pick-up truck because it was built the same year as my mother-in-law was born, 1929!
The tour of the old mill was a memorable experience that we really enjoyed on a perfect fall Sunday afternoon exploring Darke County. Our next trip back home will be in mid-December to celebrate my mother-in-law's 90th birthday. We have the perfect gift for her, but after searching all over near our home in Michigan, I come to find out they go by a different name. And are priced higher to boot!
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