Catch the Bear’s Mill fever


By Sophie Nieport

Darke County Parks

Prior to working at Bear’s Mill in 2021, I knew this historic site was one of Darke County’s gems. However, what I did not know, was how contagious the love for the mill would be! When you have a conversation with one of the Mills’ most loyal supporters, you too will catch the ‘Bear’s Mill Fever.’ The Mill brings so much more to the table than a place to buy good coffee. You can participate in rich nature walks, view four stories of historic tools and equipment, modern art, and education. If you have never taken a guided tour, please call me to set one up. The best time to do these tours are when you have a group of family or friends in town looking for something ‘different’ to do!

Something less commonly discussed about the Historic Bear’s Mill, is the upkeep. Wear and tear on a 173-year-old building is continuous and can be quite expensive!

The Friends of Bear’s Mill along with the Darke County Parks are seeking help to keep the millstones grinding. This unique fundraising campaign is for the Millrace Project Phase 2. The Millrace is the man-made body of water that takes diverted water from the Scenic River Greenville Creek and channels it under Bear’s Mill to power the two under-water Leffel turbines. These water-powered turbines are used to grind grain and operate the Mill.

Unfortunately, the concrete under the Mill supporting the building and channeling this necessary water supply is deteriorating and needs to be replaced. Phase 1 replaced the concrete on the southside of the Mill and was completed in the fall of 2021. Phase 2 will replace the concrete pillars and walls under the Northside of the Mill.

We need your help funding these necessary repairs.

Bear’s Mill is a Darke County treasure that will be preserved forever under the direction of the Darke County Parks. However, intense preservation projects like this require the community’s support. Even if you are only able to donate a small amount, we encourage you to talk about it with your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and employers. Your discussion with someone who has a deep connection with the Mill may really help out financially!

There are three ways you can donate. 1. You can contribute online at, just search Help Preserve Bear’s Mill. 2. is to write a check to Friends of Bear’s Mill with Millrace Project Phase 2 on the memo line. Checks can be mailed to 6450 Arcanum-Bears Mill Rd. Greenville, OH 45331. The third way to help out is to purchase items from our gift shop. We have gourmet coffee, tea, jams/jellies, popcorn, cookware, jewelry, memorabilia, local art, and so much more! The store is closed during the month of January 2023 for transitioning the gift shop to the Darke County Parks’ operations. It will open back up Feb. 1. Store hours are: Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays 1-5 p.m.

One hundred percent of funds go directly to the Friends of Bear’s Mill, mill race project. The Friends of Bear’s Mill is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization with the mission to preserve the historic structure and natural setting of the mill, and to provide educational, environmental and recreational experiences for all to enjoy.

All donations of any amount are welcome and encouraged, but if you or your business would like to receive sponsorship recognition for this project, here are the donor levels:

Joist Level = $500 Publicity on websites, social media, etc.

Beam Level = $1,000 Publicity & gift from the store

Pillar Level = $5,000 Publicity & Name listed at the Mill

Wall Level = $10,000 Publicity, Name listed at the Mill, and bench placed on trails in your honor

Please contact Sophie at 937-548-5112 or [email protected] for more information.

We look forward to seeing you in February!

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