North Star Roller Mill

The lack of a grist mill was felt throughout Fenelon Township by 1884. Rumours of a new woodenware factory appeared in the press that spring, but everyone knew something was up for the SW corner of Colborne and Bonds streets [FFG 2 Aug 1884; 2]. Hand was able to announce by mid-August that “Messrs. McDougall and Brandon will almost certainly commence the erection of a steam grist mill and a flour and feed store on the land purchased a few days ago from Mr. D. Scully [FFG 16 Aug 1884; 2]. By mid-September the stone foundations and piers had been completed, and on September 12th the “frame of the mill was raised” [FFG 13 Sept 1884; 2]. Construction continued throughout the autumn, as did the installation of new machinery. The first “chop” was processed on Thursday December 4th [FFG 6 Dec 1884; 2], and it was announced that George Nie would be in charge. The grist mill was in full operation by Monday February 23rd, 1885, when the flouring machinery was fully installed [FFG 28 Feb 1885; 2]. “The farmers for many miles around are delighted that it is at length in operation….” Grain was stored in the “railway storehouse” as well as “Mr. Jordan’s” [FFG 17 Oct 1885; 2]; and McDougall and Brandon were often on the lookout for more facilities [FFG 25 Sept 1891; 4].

The mill barely escaped destruction in November 1892 in the great fire that destroyed much of the north side of Colborne Street, but the “proprietors of the mill took the wise precaution, when building it, to put in a powerful steam pump, which, aided part of the time by the village hand engine, poured such a stream of water on the mill itself and surrounding buildings, that the fire was happily confined to the block in which it originated [FFG 25 Nov 1892; 4].

“The nerves of Fenelon Falls thrilled with joy last Friday afternoon [probably April 28th] when it became known that part, at least, of the Smith property had changed hands.” McDougall, Brandon and Austin purchased the “large stone building intended for a flour mill, the old sawmill, and the farm of about 180 acres just outside of the village boundary” [CP 5 May 1893; 8]. This purchase eventually enabled the Syndicate to begin an expansion; additions were made to the stone mill between the bridges [FFG 17 April 1896; 4] and plans were underway for an oatmeal mill. By August, the Syndicate was moving all of their machinery from the frame building on Bond Street to the stone mill “where henceforth all their milling business will be done” [FFG 7 Aug 1896; 4]. Milling capacity was to be doubled in the new premises, “and arrangements are being made to grind all the buckwheat, corn and rye the farmers may wish to have converted into flour or chop” [FFG 28 Aug 1896; 4]. The stone mill was in full operation by October [FFG 23 Oct 1896; 4]. By November Henry Austen was taken into partnership [FFG 6 Nov 1896; 4]. In November 1897 a new building to house a dynamo was constructed on the east side of the mill along with a new flume [FFG 5 Nov 1897; 4]; and the following spring “a wide verandah on the north and west sides of the stone mill” was added “as a shelter for farmers, their teams, and their vehicles in wet weather” when unloading grain or loading flour [FFG 25 Mar 1898; 5]. The stone mill continued operating for many years afterwards.

593 Variant name: North Star Rolling Mills

594 Powles Corners: Things we would like to know–When is there going to be a grist mill at Fenelon Falls? [FFG 9 Feb 1884; 2]. “We are tired out waiting for Smith’s new grist mill, which ought to have been in operation over a year ago” [FFG 27 Sept 1884; 2]

595 By early December the owners were listed as McDougall, Brandon & Allan [FFG 6 Dec 1884; 2].

596 “The foundation walls, which are nearly five feet high [above ground], are very nearly finished, and within them are several massive stone piers to assist in bearing the great weight of the superstructure and its contents. The building will be 45 by 50 feet, and four stories high, affording room for machinery enough for a large business” [FFG 13 Sept 1884; 2].

“The mill is to contain two runs of stones–one for chopping and one for finishing–and eight pairs of rollers, as the wheat is to be ground by what is called the gradual process” [FFG 18 Oct 1884; 2].

597 There is no mention about what happened to this building. It may have been used for storage.

598 Possibly under the name of the Fenelon Falls Milling Co. (Ltd.)

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