Benson Grist Mill
Original mill stone
Inside the mill you can see the grain elevator, hopper, storage bins for grain waiting to go through the grinding process, and more. The miller made notations and calculated figures in pencil on the storage bins. Some of the writing remains legible, bringing the past to life. My group was fascinated by the machinery and process, all powered by water. One of my favorite pieces of machinery sported the label "Bug and Dust Collector."
Bug and Dust Collector
This is a very large building for a mill, and you can climb the narrow stairs to the upper floors. The grain elevator has little scoops on belts that would transport the grain to the upper levels. I had never seen a grain elevator before, and this was definitely not what I envisioned when I heard the term, so this was educational for me!
Grain elevators inside the mill
Next to the old mill is a new building where you can see a replica mill in action. I found the mill to be surprisingly quiet after our guide got it running. She indicated that the noise level would be far different if it were really grinding corn. A sawmill was built south of the grist mill, and later changed configurations and usages, serving as a tannery, and later, as a wool pullery. There, residents could process sheep carcasses in order to salvage the wool and sheepskin for sale. Old foundations remain at the site.
MILL TRIVIA: Grist means the material found in the mill (grain).
Only one other family came while we were there, making this a peaceful, charming stop on our day trip. Inside the country store you will find crafts, toys, candies (we tried the honey stix with flavors like raspberry and wildflower). You may also purchase commercially packaged ice cream bars, soda and water. Before leaving we were given a booklet entitled "Memories of the Mill." It contains historical information, a description of how the mill works, biographical sketches of those connected with the mill, and anecdotes from residents.
The Benson Grist Mill was my family's favorite stop of the four places we visited on our day trip. Stay tuned for my family connection to this site.
IF YOU GO:
The Benson Grist Mill is open from May 1 through Oct. 31, 10am - 4pm.
Cost: FREE (donations are accepted)
There are various activities scheduled at this site throughout the summer season including Pioneer Days, a Harvest Festival, and a Pumpkin Walk.