Looking at the old mill wall – or what’s left of it – I can picture farmers bringing burlap sacks of grain to the mill to Little York and Mill Street, a block south of Broadway. They’d arrive by horse and wagon. If the wagon was full and heavy maybe the horses would be a little winded, huffing and rattling their traces as the farmer unloaded the grain. Perhaps there’d be a trough with water, like the one in front of Town Hall… and maybe the farmer would remember to stop at the grocery store to pick up a bag of flour to take home.
According to the historical plaque on the grounds, the mill in fact operated from the time of horse drawn carts to pick-up trucks – 1857 to the late 70s – producing flour, then livestock feed. There was another mill on the same site before this. Orange Lawrence built the first. He was a major landholder in the area and gave the town its name. His mill was wood frame and burned down.
Thomas Jull and John Walker Reid built the stone mill. They were sons-in-law of Orange Lawrence. At first, the mill was powered by an overshot wheel, which means a flume or mill race must have started upstream to bring the water to the top of the wheel (Also there must have been a lot more water). At some time a turbine replaced the wheel, and it, in turn gave way to electricity in 1913, when the mill produced 75 barrels a day of Pride of Dufferin and Gold Anchor flour. The building operated until 1977, stood vacant for eight years, while various ideas were put forth for its use, but in 1985, it came down… and this little bit of wall is all that’s left still standing.