For many years I visited Amish Indiana as a tourist, before recently retiring here. Once in a while a local would say, “Have you visited Bonneyville Mill?” and I thought, “Why would I visit a mill?!” But last year I ended up there one Sunday afternoon, and now I’m a fan.
It’s not just a mill! I had no idea… Their brochure says there are 222 acres of “gently rolling hills, woodlands, marshes, and open meadows,” with five miles of hiking trails running through them. There are picnic tables throughout, and five reservable shelters (each with picnic tables, water, grills, and restroom facilities). Wow!
Bonneyville Mill is the oldest continuously operating grist mill in Indiana. In its long history it has produced stone-ground flour and other products from all kinds of grains. The original owner, Edward Bonney, hoped his mill would be the center of a thriving new city—but the railroads bypassed Bonneyville and the proposed canal was never built. Edward sold the mill, went into the tavern business, got accused of counterfeiting, and fled town as an outlaw. Oh, well… “How the mighty have fallen!” as King David said.
Anyway... Recently I was out there again for our annual church picnic, and I took some pictures. A park employee explains how the mill works, and then ‘fires it up’ and grinds some grain. There are helpful displays such as this one (below) to explain the process.
Walking upstairs, the ‘works’ can be seen up close. It’s amazing how many of the elements are made of wood, and yet they still hold their own after almost 200 years. Edward Bonney’s men knew what they were doing!
Walking downstairs and outside, the actual turbines (water wheels), millrace, and dam can be seen. Everything is well explained, and there are self-guided tour guides available for those who are interested in the mechanics of the thing. It was actually quite progressive for its time, with its horizontal water wheel.
Here's a video of the mill in action:
The mill is open to the public, free of charge, on Wednesdays through Sundays from May through October, usually 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Get more information here.
Post a Comment