Standing on a rise above the Little Elkhart River, the Bonneyville Mill, Indiana’s oldest continuous operating grist mill, has been grinding flour since 1832.
Set amidst gently rolling hills, the red mill is located in the 223-acre Bonneyville Mill County Park, just east of Bristol, Indiana on County Road 131.
There’s no charge to enter and watch the giant mill stones grind corn, wheat, rye and buckwheat (which can be purchased by the bag in the gift shop across the street when the mill is operating from May to October).
In the winter, cross country ski or sled down the hills. In warmer weather ramble along the park’s seven miles of hiking trails that meander through the woods, past cascading waterfalls. Be sure to stop at the dahlia garden which in the summer overflows with large, colorful blossoms.
Any time of the year cross the bridge that spans the old mill pond and wander the grounds reading the old advertisements that are nailed to the sides of the mill.
The mill was built by Edward Bonney who believed that because of its proximity to the navigable St. Joseph River and the Toledo-Chicago trail that a booming metropolis would grow here.
But alas, it wasn’t to be. Bonney ended up selling the mill and going into the tavern business. That dream ended too when he was accused of counterfeiting and had to flee the area.
But the mill continued on. It was still commercially viable in the 1950s, making “Famous Buckwheat Pancake Flour.”