Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Crystal River Grist Mill

Crystal River Grist Mill, originally uploaded by THEjdawg.

The 2.5 story frame mill was built in 1855 to grind grain for the farmers of the Little Hope and Waupaca, Wisconsin communities on the Crystal River. Two metal waterwheels were employed; one for grinding flour,cornmeal, and graham flour, and the second for livestock feed grinding. The Crystal River Mill ran for over 100 years until closing and being sold at auction in 1959.

A builder, Sterling Shrock, purchased the mill; and, along with another builder, started some renovations in 1960 for Delmar & Edna Schmidt, who had in turn bought the mill. The Schmidts planned to use the mill as a furniture/furnishings store. Shrock and Schroeder built a wooden waterwheel of 1700's era in 1963, a covered bridge over the Crystal River in 1970, and added the Chapel-in-the-Woods in 1974. The chapel is a great place for reflection and contemplation and also serves for numerous weddings each year at $100 dollars a couple.

The wheel sufficed for 12 years, until the wooden axle rotted too much to continue use. The mill is now a museum/gift shop run by Delmar & Edna's son Donald. The upper two floors provide 5,000 sq ft of space for gift shop museum purposes, while the ground floor provides living quarters for the Shmidts. "This old mill", according to Mr. Shmidt contains a room designated as an old fashioned store, while another is a Christmas year-around gifts and knick-knacks room.

Mr. Shmidt still has the original millstones and some early flour sacks from the Crystal River Grist Mill. The 24 foot water wheel is now purely decorative in nature.

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