During the Civil War, wheat dominated Wisconsin’s economy. In 1864, the Dells Mill was built near Augusta in Eau Claire County. The state was only 16 years old.
The Dells MilL ground wheat brought to it by area farmers. The Mill in turn converted the wheat into flour. The mill required a mill pond to power the mill. So a mill pond was built bay constructing a dam across a waterway, in its case, Bridge Creek. The mill pond straddles Hwy 27 just north of Augusta. The dam was constructed in 1840.
The base of the mill was carved into the sandstone bedrock. massive hand-hewn timbers secured with wooden pegs made up the structure of the Mill.
Water turbines powered the milling process. A concrete dam replaced the original log structure in 1919.
Dells Mill, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, operated continuously until 1968 . It continued to clean grain until 2006.
Gustave Clark bought the mill in 1964. He took visitors on tours since 1968. Four generations of his family have lived at the mill since 1894. Eric Linquist, writing for the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram said:
“Dressed in a Civil War uniform, Clark would entertain kids by demonstrating how to fire an antique muzzleloader rifle, singing Civil War songs while playing his homemade “git-fiddle” (a cross between a guitar and a banjo) and telling stories about the past.”
Clark passed away in 2014.
While walking through through the Mill’s grounds, I found these equipments stored outside the building.