GREENVILLE — Bear’s Mill, one of the few operating water-powered mills in Ohio today, was built in 1849.
The Order of Good Things, later becoming The Fraternal Order of Eagles (FOE), was established in 1898. Both appreciate the value of preserving history. That is why the Fraternal Order of Eagles #2177, in Greenville, chose to donate $5,000 to Bear’s Mill this week. According to FOE Head Trustee Brent Siders, Bear’s Mill is something to cherish.
“It is something that had been a part of our community forever, and we definitely want to see that continue on to be a part of our history and our future,” he said.
According to bearsmill.org, Bear’s Mill is a rare historic landmark and one of the few operating water-powered mills in Ohio today. The mill’s grand framework is constructed of hand-hewn timber beams that are nearly 50 feet long, without a single splice. Standing four stories high, grain is carried from floor to floor throughout the inner workings of the mill, by the power of the water that runs through the mill race below. The mill still grinds grain into flours and meals, using the same cool grind practices as old world millers. Today’s mill offers an exciting place to experience a bit of history in a strikingly beautiful setting. In addition to the historic tours, the first floor of Bear’s Mill carries an eclectic mix of Bear’s Mill flours and meals, gourmet food items, coffee, clothing jewelry and unique home goods. The Mill Gallery features constantly rotating exhibits that display the paintings, sculpture and photography of artists throughout the Ohio Valley.
Bear’s Mill Board of Directors President Carl DeSantis said he was very grateful for the check from the FOE.
“We are a major part of the heritage of the county as one of the oldest artifacts/businesses in Darke County,” he said. “If Terry Clark, the miller was here, he would fill you in with a thousand exciting stories. The mill is a volunteer organization, and serves the community as one of the many not-for-profit organizations. We work with children and adults to display the heritage of the county and to show the craftsmanship of the mill, something that goes back nearly 200 years. Like so many areas today, we have to be careful about how we preserve them, not to destroy them and to leave them for the next generation, and that is exactly what the mill does.”
Other Bear’s Mill board members in attendance were: Secretary Sally Rudy, Board Member Kimberly Rudnick and Treasurer Gordon Smith. It seems something they all have in common, is joining the board due to their love of the mill. Rudnick is the newest board member.
“I fell in love with the mill,” she said. “There is just something about it – you just want to devote your time and be a part of it.”
“Art at the Mill” takes place September 29 thru October 3, with opening reception Friday night, 6-8 p.m.
Historic Bear’s Mill’s Fall Open House will take place October 7 and 8, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit Historic Bear’s Mill Facebook page.
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.
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