The Old Road Series - Plate XI

Release Date: March 1983
Edition Size: 1000 S/N
Issue Price: $35.00
Print Size: 17 x 22
Secondary Market Value

If only old mills could talk!

Thousands of mills were buil in America during the past three hundred years, and thousands have fallen victim to the ravages of time, neglect and vandals. The "Cawker Biennial Flour Director" published in an 1886 issue of "The American Miller" listed 16,856 mills in the United States. Most have not been restored. Most have not become souvenir shops or tourist attractions. Most are simply falling down and disappearing, or long gone.

Inspiration for REEL REFRESHING is Blackiston Mill which once spanned Silver Creek between Floyd and Clark Counties in southern Indiana. In it's early days, between 1870 and 1900 a footbridge spanned the dam giving access to the picnic area on the other side. Near the turn of the century an iron bridge was erected immediately to the left of the Mill, but collapsed under the weight of a concrete truck in 1963.

Originally, and as late as the flood of 1937, the open space between the floor joists down to the horizontal beam was enclosed with vertical planking. The wheel was enclosed and the millrace was behind the wall at right. In the early 1900s the Mill became an outstanding recreation locale with fishing, swimming and boat rentals. By World War II the Mill was closed and all gears and metal parts donated as scrap to the war effort.

REEL REFRESHING, featuring a classic 7-Up sign and a lone fisherman, is a reflection of how the Mill look in 1957 when I photographed it from under the old iron bridge. Following a roof collapse, the Mill was demolished about 1990.