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Recollections of the Bluegrass Mill

1947 - 1961

Lewis Detch

     I have early memories of being in the old red mill with Dad in about 1947, and with several of my friends a few years later. As I recall there was a porch/loading platform that served as the main entrance on the west (street) side of the building.  On the north side of the building was a shed that contained a steam engine that resembled a farm tractor that was missing all of its wheels. Inside the building there was an overhead power distribution axle with wide slightly convex pulleys that powered various machines by means of long, wide leather belts.

Paul Detch

     As a 5 or 6 year old boy, Paul's father, John, took him through the mill. There was a loading platform with sliding doors along Jefferson Street, but the machinery had been removed. There was a lot of dust everyplace on all three floors of the building, it was not pleasant being there with all the dust. His father pointed out that the big beams were all held together with wooden pegs.

Herbert Montgomery

     The main floor had a sliding door opening onto Rt. 219 and stairs leading down to the cellar at the northwest corner of the building. Next to the stairs there was an office and a coke machine with a compressor for chilled water to keep the bottles cold. As a boy in the 1950s, he would often put in his dime and slide a bottle along slats to a gate where the bottle could be pulled out. (He would also go to the Board of Education building on Chestnut St. where there was a yellow Nehi soda machine.) He would go to the mill with his father, Dr. John Montgomery, to get sacks of feed for their dairy cows. The sacks were made of printed cotton which his mother used to make dish towels because she didn't want to be seen wearing a feed sack dress. When the mill stopped operating around 1953, the Montgomerys had to get feed delivered from Southern States in 100 lb bags.

     In the 1950s, the machinery was still powered by belts and pulleys on line shafts, but they were driven by electric motors rather than a large steam engine. In the early 50s, the mill was grinding grain all day long and dust was blown outside. After the mill shut down, the machinery was removed. He and his friends explored the building on several occasions.

    [The 80HP steam engine powering the mill was removed some time between 1910 and 1923 as shown on the Sanborn fire insurance maps.]

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