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Bonneyville Mill - Bristol, Indiana

Updated on July 29, 2017

Historic Mill Offers Look Back in Time

Bonneyville Mill is an antique grist mill in northern Indiana, still in operation today. It is the centerpiece of an Elkhart County park. From May through October, the water powered mill grinds local wheat, corn, buckwheat and rye into flour.

It is fascinating to see this antique flour mill in operation, and you can buy the flour, too.

The picture of Bonneyville Mill is just as idyllic as any mill scene from days gone by - a quiet pond reflecting cattails, a blue Midwestern sky and the barn red siding of the mill.

The wheel is horizontal, rather than vertical, so it's not visible outside the building.

Founded in the 1830s by Edward Bonney, the mill has been stone grinding wheat, corn, rye and buckwheat for more than 150 years.

If you've never baked with flour from a local mill, I encourage you to find your own local sources and bake some bread, cookies or other treats. It is a joy to work with quality goods like these.

Photos in this article by kimbesa

Bonneyville Mill and the Mill Pond

Mill and Pond
Mill and Pond | Source

This is a lot more beautiful than the average grocery store.

We modern bakers usually head for the local supermarket, where the process of buying flour is a lot less sensory. But there are sources of flour in grain-growing parts of the country, even a few where the flour is ground by local mills.

I love to stop here when I'm in the area, and buy some flour. The staff has told me that some customers come from more than 100 miles away to buy flour during the season, and freeze it for use during the winter when the mill is not open.

Sluce at Bonneyville Mill
Sluce at Bonneyville Mill | Source

The Mill Wheel is Inside

And It Spins Horizontally Beneath Your Feet

Visitors have to walk around beside the foundation and look down to see the how the rushing water of the Little Elkhart River fuels the mill's horizontal wheel or turbine.

The mill was an innovation in its time, because Bonney installed the works using a horizontal mill wheel, which produces more horsepower than traditional vertical water wheels.

Stone milling is considered the best process for grinding grain from a nutritional standpoint, because no other machinery grinds grains into flours, cereals, and meals as well as the massive stones used by millers since the Romans.

Bonneyville Mill

Bonneyville Mill
Bonneyville Mill

Millstone From Bonneyville Mill

Mill Stone
Mill Stone

They display these used mill stones outside. It takes some horsepower to move these massive stones, as they grind grain into flour.

Interior of Bonneyville Mill - A Big, Working Antique

Bonneyville Mill interior
Bonneyville Mill interior

When the mill is grinding, you can watch this equipment at work and see the finished product fill the bins.

"The mill grinds three kinds of wheat," says miller John Jenney, "two hard and one soft, two kinds of corn - yellow and white - in addition to buckwheat and rye."

Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, thousands of visitors each year have the opportunity to see this old-fashioned milling process first hand, and feel the massive grist stones vibrating beneath their feet.

Bonneyville Mill Entry

Bonneyville Mill Entry
Bonneyville Mill Entry

More Photos From a Day at Bonneyville Mill - Lots To Enjoy, Inside And Outside

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Welcome to Bonneyville MillMill gift shop, quilt painted on the sideWindmill, across from the main mill buildingHerb garden on the mill groundsEchinacea flowers in the herb gardenSome of the mill's products available to purchaseTwo pound sack of buckwheat flourCorn meal and corn grits, milled from local cornBonneyville Mill in the morning
Welcome to Bonneyville Mill
Welcome to Bonneyville Mill
Mill gift shop, quilt painted on the side
Mill gift shop, quilt painted on the side
Windmill, across from the main mill building
Windmill, across from the main mill building
Herb garden on the mill grounds
Herb garden on the mill grounds
Echinacea flowers in the herb garden
Echinacea flowers in the herb garden
Some of the mill's products available to purchase
Some of the mill's products available to purchase
Two pound sack of buckwheat flour
Two pound sack of buckwheat flour
Corn meal and corn grits, milled from local corn
Corn meal and corn grits, milled from local corn
Bonneyville Mill in the morning
Bonneyville Mill in the morning

Mill and Dahlia Garden - Demonstration Garden for Beautiful Flowers

Bonneyville Mill with Dahlia Garden
Bonneyville Mill with Dahlia Garden

Just past the mill pond, the county Dahlia Society has a test garden, with many beautiful plants that bloom in late summer.

Dahlia close up
Dahlia close up | Source

More Info on the Elkhart County Parks Site

You can find out about the picnic areas, hiking trails and other things to do at Bonneyville Mill County Park via the county parks website.

Bonneyville Mill Near Bristol, Indiana

Where is Bonneyville Mill?

Is This The Vacation Spot For You? - A Quiet Picnic on a Summer Afternoon?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great photos! I would love to visit this mill. I like your description of it as a big, working antique.

    • profile image

      Spikey64 5 years ago

      This looks a fantastic place for a vacation. Thanks for sharing this place with us. Great lens, love the photos.

    • JuserTM profile image

      JuserTM 5 years ago

      Awesome made lens, great job! Squidlike!

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

      I know I would enjoy this place. Maybe someday I'll get over that way.

    • profile image

      fullofshoes 5 years ago

      Beautiful!! I feel like I have visited the mill through your lens. ~blessed~

    • profile image

      grannysage 5 years ago

      I wish I could see this but our travels do not take us that way. We did see an old abandoned mill in North Carolina that fed my imagination. It would be great to see one actually in use. And the bread made from the flour would be fantastic.

    • profile image

      Success_At_School 5 years ago

      It looks so quaint and peaceful.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      Great antique mill and very well maintained, it is amusing how some wood constructions resist in time Well done lens

    • Kae Yo profile image

      Kae Yo 5 years ago

      Congratulations on making the front page! This is a very lovely lens. It's nice to see beautiful, historic places like this.

    • WoodlandIndianEDU profile image

      WoodlandIndianEDU 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing. Although it is a bit of a distance from my southern Indiana home, I do travel up north for some jobs, and will be sure to visit the mill should I be in the area.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I was just here in May and it is my pleasure to be able to return to congratulate you on front page honors, love this step back in time!

    • profile image

      gemjane 5 years ago

      Nice lens! Didn't know about this wonderful place in my own Hoosier state. It's at the opposite end of the state from where I live. Hope to get there sometime.

    • Dmarieinspires profile image

      Dana Marie 5 years ago from St. Peters, MO

      Great lens. I love visiting the old mills.

    • allenwebstarme profile image

      allenwebstarme 5 years ago

      So beautiful lens.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      This is my type of place -- quiet and quaint.

    • profile image

      sandi_x 5 years ago

      lovely and great photos.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I would love to visit Bonneyville Mill in Bristol, Indiana after reading about it here.

    • ceejaycmarshall profile image

      ceejaycmarshall 5 years ago

      looks lovely! great lens. :)

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      Your photos are lovely. Indiana seems like a great place to live and visit.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      ....and congratulations on your very well deserved purple star to shine here forever...blessings!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What a wonderful step back in time to actually be able to visit a functioning grist mill that has been so wonderfully kept up for all to enjoy this historic experience. I imagine that everything you bake with this special flour just tastes a little bit better. Beautifully presented with all your wonderful photos and an obviously fond heart.

    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 5 years ago from USA

      @TonyPayne: It IS such a small world! Glad you enjoyed this lens. It will be updated with extra photos eventually and I'll promote it on Facebook when I do.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      This looks wonderful, I wish now I had visited when I lived in the area. I lived in South Bend for 12 years, and worked in Elkhart as well, but only went to Bristol once in all that time. Excellent page, with some lovely photographs.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      I can well imagine the joy of having a picnic or a quick vacation at such a lovely spot! The gardens are incredible.

    • profile image

      Annamadagan 5 years ago

      Loved the pictures, and great information! Blessings :)

    • MarcoG profile image

      Marc 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      Gorgeous pics here! Looks lovely!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      beautiful place to visit, like it

    • DreamingBoomer profile image

      Karen Kay 6 years ago from Jackson, MS

      Lovely place! It's so great they are preserving it. I really appreciate living history. Thanks for showcasing it!

    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 6 years ago from USA

      @kimmanleyort: Thanks!

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 6 years ago

      Sounds like a cool place. Added to my Articles about Indiana.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 6 years ago

      Our forefathers were so ingenious to create mills of this kind. And you are right...the flours from these places is definitely a cut above the store brands. I would like to see the dahlias too. My Dad grew them and they were so beautiful.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 6 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Very your photos. Blessed and added to my United States Angel Travel lens.

    • Charmcrazey profile image

      Wanda Fitzgerald 7 years ago from Central Florida

      Not so much a vacation spot but I would like to visit for the Dahlias. That's one flower that I wish I could grow in Central Florida.