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Bieber Mill Ruins (aka Wigton Mill)
Delaware, OH - History & Main Page

Beiber Mill Ruins, Delaware OH, Olentangy River. Photographed 1989

From 1843 to 1844 Shubal W. Knapp and John Blinn built a three-story frame gristmill. In 1848 Knapp and Blinn sold the mill to George Bieber for $3,000. James Bieber and George Bieber's son, assumed the operation of the mill after his father's death. James continued to expand his land holdings through purchases from family members. He acquiring over 100 acres adjacent to the mill site.

James Bieber's gristmill operations were very successful. In 1876 - 1877, James Bieber and his brother Henry built an addition to the frame gristmill. On the north side of the gristmill they erected a 3 1/2 story, stone mill with a full basement and foundation. The new stone mill housed a sawmill on the first floor. The remaining space in the huge mill was never used for any milling process. The gristmill, however, continued to operate successfully.

James Bieber found himself in financial difficulty in 1880 when he could not pay for the stone mill's construction. He was in debt to William H. Marvin for $13,098. Bieber tried unsuccessfully to pay Marvin, but his beautiful stone mill was auctioned at the Delaware County Courthouse on March 9, 1889. Jesse Eury paid $2,505 for the Beiber Stone Mill.

Jesse Eury did not operate the mill due to poor health. Eventually the gristmill was placed back into operation. Elmer A. Wigton was the miller in 1896 and eventually became the owner. Wigton was a bachelor and lived in the mill. While Wigton operated the mill, the stone dam was destroyed in a flood. Wigton constructed a log and brush dam but it too was ruined by a flood. Elmer Wigton sold the mill in 1923.

Subsequently, the Bieber Mill has had numerous owners. The old frame gristmill met the fate of many other mills and was devastated by fire. Unfortunately, due to the proximity of the stone mill, it too was destroyed. The stone mill lost its roof, floors and massive beam structure to the fire.

Today, the Bieber Mill stands as one of the most impressive mills ever constructed in Ohio. The walls are 3' thick and are constructed with beautifully cut limestone. The local area is famous for its limestone and the mill is evidence of the skilled stone masons of Delaware County in 1876. The side that faces the river is still intact and provides the visitor with the impression that the mill was a gigantic structure even by today's construction standards. The other three sides of the building have deteriorated, but are still beautiful. The structure sits on the Olentangy River and has braved many floods. Three stone arches, one on the north side and two on the riverside indicate the route the water was channeled to power the waterwheel. The millrace and basement where the water flowed through the wheel have been covered with silt from the river. The stone arches are still visible several feet above the silt.

The photographs depict the magnificence of the Bieber Mill but it cannot provide you with the awe-inspiring atmosphere that you can experience with a visit to the site. This is one of the most architecturally significant historic structures left in Ohio. It is currently owned by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. They would like to restore the building, but there are no available funds. (Judi Brozek, Historian, Olentangy River Valley).

 

DIRECTIONS: Delaware County. Liberty Township. From Delaware, south on U.S. 23, 2 miles, right on Chapman Road, 1/2 miles, on right on the Olentangy River.
Bieber Mill
4801-4919 Chapman Road
Delaware, OH 43015
Click Above for a 2-minute Video about Bieber Mill
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Beiber Mill Map.  Delaware County, Ohio


Main Page
& History
North Side
Chimney
South Side
Opposite Chimney

West Side
Faces the River
East Side
Faces the Road
Before & After
Stabilization

Old Photos 1989


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