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Joe Beam and Sons Mill

This mill site was established in 1816. First a gristmill was built and then roads were built to reach the mill. The location is a natural site for a water-powered mill. Anderson's Fork River has a natural waterfall at the mill. The original wooden dam incorporated the natural waterfall into the dam and created an eight to nine foot head of water. Today, silt has filled up the stream's bed so that the millpond is only two or three feet deep. The wooden dam was replaced in the early 1900's with a stone dam capped with concrete. There is a portion of the old concrete dam that is identified with the date of 1904. The dam was recapped with concrete in the middle 1980's. Today, the mill site is still impressive. The dam creates a large millpond and its waters cascade gracefully over the natural rock waterfall.

The mill building is architecturally impressive. The mill originally ground corn and wheat and produced cornmeal and flour. Today, the mill has developed into a feed mill and is used solely for family use. The Joe Beam Mill is owned by the same family that built it. The mill was built in 1912 by William Oscar Beam, Grandfather of Maynard and Malcolm Beam, who are the present owners of the mill. This structure has three full floors plus a full basement and a header room on the fourth level. Towering over Anderson's Fork, the Joe Beam Mill is built of hand formed concrete block. The foundation and storage bins were laid up in forms and poured with concrete. The rest of the building's concrete blocks were also made on site. Each of the concrete blocks used in the construction of the building was poured into forms on site and laid up as the blocks dried. Double-hung single pane windows surround the building and the mill entrance is located between the storage bins and the mill building. There are 8 storage bins that hold 20,000 bushels. The head house has a frame construction and the roof is tin.

The interior construction of the mill is equally striking. The huge sawed beams used in the floor joists are beechwood. The floors are beautifully laid hardwood. The floors are filled with wooden inserts where the old elevator shafts used to run. Each level, even the basement, is well lighted by the many windows. The structure of the building is sound.

On the outside of the mill building there is still evidence of the short millrace that directed the water to a wooden waterwheel. Inside the mill, in the basement the shaft from the old waterwheel is still in place. It was in the early 1930's that the mill changed from waterpower to electric power. The old mill still has much of the original equipment. Mixers for animal feed are in place and still in use. The drive shaft for the auxiliary power source (a kerosene two-cylinder engine) is in place. A hammer mill to grind corn is still used. The original corn sheller is in the mill. It breaks the corn off the husk, elevates it up stairs to the cleaner, sorts it and via elevator deposits it in its appropriate location. The horizontal mixer is still in use. The storage bins are used to temporarily store the grain. The flow of the grain is controlled by the elevators. The elevators can transport the grain up to the second and third floors to the grinder or mixer or the grain can be placed in different storage bins. All of the floors are presently being used for the operation to get the height necessary to process the grain.

In the far corner, inside the mill, closest to the dam, is a dumbwaiter. It has counter weights attached and allows the man that runs the mill to adjust it for his weight and ride it up and down. Using the cables and pulleys, the miller releases his weight a little and the cart goes up. For the miller to go down, he pulls down on the cable. This is a neat operation and keeps the miller from running up and down the five floor levels of the mill. The mill also holds an antique device that once combined molasses with corn for cattle feed. At one time, there was a corn cracker that provided the feed for chickens.

State Route 134 runs in front of the mill and a traditional bridge spans Anderson's Fork which somewhat interferes with the aesthetic value of the old mill. The uniqueness of the mill's construction, its continued use and the mill's picturesque location present an interesting experience for a visitor. (Beam, Maynard; Beam, Betty).

 

 

DIRECTIONS: Clinton County. Liberty Township. In Port William on S.R. 134, the south edge of town.

 

Joe Beam and Sons Mill, Clinton County, Ohio
Joe Beam and Sons Mill, Clinton County, Ohio
I visited Joe Beam Mill in 1990 and that is when these black & white photographs were shot. The picture above has a nice shot of the dam. The mill was functioning while I was there but it was powered with electricity. This is the only interior picture I have of the old mill. The mill was a flour (wheat) and cornmeal (corn) mill but changed into a feed mill.
Joe Beam and Sons Mill, Clinton County, Ohio

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