If I want to use some flour, I go to my cupboard and get out the flour canister (really a plastic container that holds a 5-pound bag of flour). If I had lived around 1832, I might have had to grow my own wheat, take it to the nearby grist mill, and wait to have it ground into flour. During our trip on the Heritage Trail, we visited the Bonneyville Mill, an Elkhart County Parks location near Goshen, Indiana.
This is the stream that provides the energy to operate the mill. It isn't large enough or fast enough to drive the familiar water wheel we all know. Indiana is flat and Edward Bonney installed two horizontal turbines to make use of the St. Joseph River.
The mill grinds corn and several types of wheat. The day we visited, it was grinding corn. The output was very slow. Like I said, I'm glad I have a better way to get my flour. These are samples of the grains and flours they still grind at Bonneyville.
The "outhouse" on the lower level of the mill
This is one of the original grinding wheels from the mill. It empties into the river, just downstream from the turbines.
The park's interpreter adding corn to the hopper so it can be ground.
If you look closely at the small window to the right of that wheel in his hand, you can see where the ground corn comes from the grinding wheels.
From there, it goes up a conveyer to the sifter. This blurry photo shows the sifted corn flour.
The mill's turbines move all these belts, which operate all aspects of the mill.
Here you can see the outside of the mill, reflected in the mill pond.
The Bonneyville Mill is the oldest continuously operating grist mill in Indiana. It was a very interesting visit.