In 1829, Christian Augspurger bought land and built a dam on the Great Miami River. Subsequently, he built a sawmill and several gristmills. The Great Miami River basin is very large and carries massive amounts of water. Because there was such a large power supply provided by the waters of the Great Miami River and the dam, Augspurger persuaded the Beckett Paper Company to build a paper mill at this site. The paper mill was built in 1867. It was 225' X 40' with three stories in the center and two stories on either side, all built with brick. Numerous small brick houses with two stories were constructed for the mill workers. Only two of these tenements remain. A devastating fire on June 24, 1880 destroyed the Beckett Paper Mill. This disaster spelled economic havoc for the Augspurger's as well as the local community.
Christian Augspurger's son Samuel assumed the gristmill business. Samuel replaced his father's gristmill in 1872 with the present structure for $15,000. Made with red brick, the 2 1/2 stories rest on a full basement. The waterwheel was located in the basement. The mill's gears were made of solid maple. Three sets of buhrstones functioned in the mill. One set ground corn and foliage for animal feed. Another ground corn for cornmeal, and the third ground wheat and produced flour. The flour was shipped on canal boats and sent to Cincinnati.
Today the old gristmill building stands empty with its windows vandalized. The brick structure is intact with the windows and doors exhibiting Italiante arched brick lintels. The area surrounding the mill appears industrial and transitional. The area offers a rich historic insight into the Amish community of the Augspurger Family. The gristmill and the surrounding area are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Unfortunately, there has been no restoration in the area. What could be an impressive step back into the 1880's is instead a disappointment. (Page, Doris. "Augspurger Grist Mill."; Page, Doris. Interview; Page, Doris L. and Johns, Marie).
DIRECTIONS: Butler County. St. Clair Township. From Hamilton, north on S.R. 4, 3 miles, north (left) on Wayne-Madison Road, 1 mile, cross Great Miami River, immediately turn right, on right.