David Reece established this mill site in 1829. In 1824 David Reece purchased 250 acres for $500. From 1829 to 1830 he built a sawmill and gristmill. It was in 1831 that the tax records indicate the existence of the mills. David Reece was a community minded individual. He represented Highland County in the state legislature in 1831, 1835 and 1836. He also served as Justice of the Peace in Paint Township for many years. David Reece died July 28, 1841. David's son James Reece was administrator of David's estate and began managing the mill in 1842. Like his father, James was also community minded and served as county auditor, and many other public positions.
March 20, 1848, James Reece sold the mill to Henry Stacy Foraker who was married to Margaret Reece, daughter of David Reece. When Joseph Benson Foraker, son of Henry, was two years old, his family moved near the mill and lived there for 13 years. Joseph would become a United States Senator and Governor of Ohio twice.
Henry Foraker rebuilt and enlarged the mill. Foraker hired Samuel Newell as a miller. In April 23, 1862, Samuel Newell purchased the mill. Samuel Newell gave the sawmill, flour mill and 16 acres to his son William C. Newell on May 5, 1885. William improved the mill's efficiency by replacing the buhrstones with roller mills and adding a corn cob mill.
Thomas Costello and C.M. Overman purchased the Newell's Mill on February 10, 1891. In 1895, Costello purchased Overman's share. Costello promoted the railroad but it never developed. He also established the Lodores Post Office in the mill. The location was named Lodores after the Cataract of Lodore at the mill site. The Post Office closed October 31, 1903. Costello's wife died January 7, 1906. On January 31, 1906, Thomas Costello's body was found floating in the waters of Rocky Fork Creek after being killed in a milling machine accident. He was alone.
On June 23, 1906, John Allen McCoppin, a hardware store proprietor in Hillsboro, purchased the mill. McCoppin remodeled the mill with $12,000 and installed the most modern equipment; a Millwood Roller Mill manufactured by Allis-Chalmers Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The remodeled mill opened for business in 1909.
January 12, 1921, John turned the mill over to his son Harry F. McCoppin. In 1920, Harry installed a 23" Sampson Turbine manufactured by the Leflel Company of Springfield, Ohio. Subsequently, Harry McCoppin installed a second turbine and ran both the turbines grinding wheat and corn for 25 years.
On March 29, 1952, Lynn A. Sydenstricker purchased the mill after working for Harry McCoppin for three years. Lynn Sydenstricker and his son John operated the mill until February 9, 1979, ending a long milling history. October 2, 1980, Jack Hope bought the mill.
Closed, and posted "NO TRESPASSING," McCoppin's Mill still stands in the valley of the Rocky Fork as an impressive structure.
Today, McCoppin Mill is vacant. The 3 1/2 story-wood frame structure is supported by a full basement/foundation made of stone. The exterior frame is covered with white lap siding. There is a sign on the front side of the mill that reads, "J.A. McCoppin & Sons, Red Rose Animal Feeds."
The view of the mill from the bridge on McCoppin Mill Road is the best vantagepoint. There is a magnificent stone dam that spans the river at the mill. The stones were laid with such precision; one cannot help but to be inspired by the beauty of the site as the clear waters from Rocky Fork Lake cascade over the dam. The dam is laid up with creek stone and through the veil of water you can see the beautiful stone work in the photograph. About three hundred yards behind the mill dam, and above the millpond, a hugh concrete dam has been constructed to create Rocky Fork Lake. Fortunately, the individuals who designed the Rocky Fork Lake Region viewed McCoppin's Mill as being historically significant and allowed the mill to stand.
Although the mill is not open or functioning, the mill site is worth the trip. The area is picturesque and begs to be photographed. Written by Brenda Krekeler 1989. (Garber; "McCoppin's Mill.").