A History Walk: The Terrell Mill Dam and Grit Mill
In Iowa, United States
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Geocaching took me to interesting places, made me discover hidden Iowa treasures and got me interested in local history.
The cache is a small winter friendly container at the Terrell Mills Park where the Terrell Mill Dam and Grist Mill were located.
It has been placed with the permission of Mr. Mike Moran, director of Iowa City Parks and Recreation.
I am quoting some extracts of “Irving Weber’s Iowa City series”,
“The first dam across the Iowa River was constructed by Walter Terrell in 1843…the grist mill, a three-story structure, was built by William Windrem….
“The Terrel dam (see pictures) was in two sections, one from the east bank where the grist mill was located to the island and a second dam from the island to the west which now is the north-east corner of the City Park.
“There was an island, always called The Island, in the center of the Iowa River where the dam was built….there was a heavy growth of timber on it, and it served as picnic grounds for canoers and swimmers for half a century.…. In the 1940s, the channel of the Iowa River was changed to cut through the northest corner of the City Park in order to eliminate the erosion the river was causing in the bank along Dubuque Street. At that time the old channel was filled in, and The Island was eliminated. That area is now called Terrell Mill Park”(Article 722, ran June 3, 1989).
“The mill was equipped with three run (top and bottom) of 3¹/₂ -foot millstones and three run of four-foot millstones. The water wheel was the undershot type where the power wheel that turned the millstones was made to revolve by the water undershooting the wheel. The mill could grind 300 bushels of grain in 24 hours….the pioneers of Johnson County and surrounding country traveled five, 10, 20, 50 and sometimes 100 miles with ox teams and wagons loaded with wheat or oats or rye or corn. At the mill each man waited his turn in the order of his arrival.”
The dam and mill were in use until after the 1881 flood that destroyed a part of the dam.
Two of the millstones are on display near the bike trail.
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 10/26/2014 2:01:37 PM Pacific Daylight Time (9:01 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum