The Stockdale Mill was established in 1857, and stands firmly on the banks of the Eel River near Roann, IN.
This picture above was taken last weekend on our road trip around the area. After stumbling across this little gem in the middle of no where, we decided to head back for a tour. Notice in this pic how calm the river is, when we went the other day we had gotten almost 4 inches of rain the night before.
You can see on the far bank that the trees are in the water. Areas north of us had received over 4 inches of rain and it was all flowing south past the mill. The lady giving us our tour said that earlier that morning there were four 50 gal drums floating out in the river and getting caught in the under current then shooting straight up in the air. By time we got there, they had already floated further down the river to who knows where.
Anyways, back to the tour...
The Stockdale Mill was a flour mill, taking wheat and grinding it down into flour, corn meal and animal feed. The farmers in the area would load their wheat into horse drawn wagons and haul it to the mill. The farmers were allowed 10% of what they brought in as payment in flour.
When the wagons were brought into the mill, they would unhitch the team and hook the wagon onto a rope pulley system. The rope had a huge metal ring on the end that would fit over the hub of the wagon wheel and then they would raise the front of the wagon in the air so the grain would fall into a hole in the floor that would then go to the elevators.
After being dumped into the sub-basement, I mentioned that it went on the elevators. The elevator was actually a belt with little cups on it that was inside of a wooden shaft. The shaft and belts ran from the sub-basement to the 4th floor. This next pic is of one of the shafts that they opened up so you could see how the wheat was transferred and how small the cups were. Sorry it was blurry, I lost my balance while taking the picture.
On the 4th floor it would then go through the shaker, which would separate the grain from the rocks and other debris.
From the separator, it would go through a series of wooden shafts on the 3rd floor which are similar to the ones in the above pic. I don't have a pic because it was a little dark in that area, but a few years ago the entire mill shifted 18 inches and all of the shafts fell to the ground. They are still in the process of trying to figure out which one goes where. They have a few of them back up and connected but still quite a mess. From the 3rd floor it goes to the 2nd floor where the grinders are. Each grinder was used for a different grade of flour.
Notice all the belt pulleys on the grinders, they go down to the 1st floor where all the gears run the grinders.
The gears are run by the huge turbines in the sub-basement, which are powered by the river water that runs over them. Unfortunately, because of the high water from the night before we weren't allowed into the sub-basement.
They also had some various tools and machines in the building that are all part of the flour business, but I didn't catch where they all came into play... I was too busy taking pictures!
And the final result after going through 4 floors of processing is flour. This next pic takes you from the grain to corn meal and all the way up through the different stages of flour, ending with cake flour which is the finest and silkiest of all the flours.
I hope you enjoyed the tour as much as I did, and if you are ever in Northern Indiana, near Roann, check out the Stockdale Mill on a Saturday afternoon and take a tour. It will surprise you how interesting making flour can be.
Until next time...