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Bonneyville Mill - Bristol, Indiana
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
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.
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.
Millstone From Bonneyville Mill
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
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
More Photos From a Day at Bonneyville Mill - Lots To Enjoy, Inside And OutsideClick thumbnail to view full-size
Mill and Dahlia Garden - Demonstration Garden for Beautiful Flowers
Just past the mill pond, the county Dahlia Society has a test garden, with many beautiful plants that bloom in late summer.
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 County Park
Bonneyville Mill has its own section of the Elkhart County parks site