Saving History Saturday: Historic Mill’s Dam Hoping For A Makeover

A Civil War logistics site in need of preservation? It’s different than battlefield preservation or even historic structure and material culture…

Historic Pickwick Mill in Winona, Minnesota is getting some much needed love from its local preservation community. Construction between 1856 and 1858, the flour mill operated 24 hours daily during the Civil War and ground 100 barrels of flour per day to be shipped to the Federal army. The mill building—standing six stories tall—has already been restored and the nonprofit organization, Pickwick Mill Inc., operates the museum.

Pickwick Mill (photo from website)

The new preservation work will focus on repairing the dam connected to the mill which allows the water wheel machinery to function and operation for demonstrations. Currently, a suspected leak is endangering the dam which creates Lake LaBelle, a popular recreation area for Pickwick residents. As the vice president of the nonprofit explains: “The goals in this really are to keep the dam functional and safe, and to meet DNR [Minnesota Department of Natural Resources] guidelines for dam safety … the whole end goal is to keep the lake as a lake so the water wheel will run, so the lake stays in place, so the community has a lake, so Pickwick Fire and Rescue has an emergency reservoir and to keep the lake functional as a flood control structure. And none of that would be possible without the mill being there. The dam was built strictly for the mill originally.”

At this time, the estimated costs for repairs totals $140,000. Contractors are still analyzing the situation and providing bids.

For more information or to make a donation for this historic preservation project, please visit: www.pickwickmill.org or Pickwick Mill’s Facebook page.

The complete news article is available here: http://www.winonapost.com/Article/ArticleID/69439/The-effort-to-preserve-Pickwick-Mill

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