• Photo of the Beaver Marsh by Jeffrey Gibson.

    Cuyahoga Valley

    National Park Ohio

Wilson Feed Mill

Alexander's Mill
©Sylvia Banks
 
Tom Wilson.

Thomas G. Wilson working in mill, 1920s.

NPS Collection

Flour milling was one of the earliest industries in Ohio's Western Reserve. With the opening of the Ohio & Erie Canal between Cleveland and Akron in 1827, farmers could easily ship grain to growing markets. By 1840, Cleveland represented the principle Great Lakes grain market, and Ohio became the nation's leading producer of wheat.

Alexander's Mill was built in 1855 by Andrew and Robert Alexander as a custom mill, grinding grist for area farmers. Thomas and Emma Wilson purchased the mill in 1900, and began milling and selling wheat, rye, flour, scratch feed, and shelled corn. With transportation improvements by the 1920s, the Wilsons could sell to larger commercial bakers and restaurants.

 

Also during the early 20th century, the manufacture of commercial animal feeds began to take hold as a popular industry. With the demand for flour diminishing, Wilson's Mill focused on the animal feed industry and the sale of farm products. Presently, Wilson's Mill continues to operate as a feed mill, and has an additional retail store that sells farming and gardening supplies. The mill continued to use water power until 1970 and the mill's water-power system is still in place today.

Visit the Wilson Feed Mill website to learn more about the company history, products, and services.

 
Oral history audio.

In Their Own Words
Click the topics to hear stories about Cuyahoga Valley life.
Click here to read the text file.

Mill Operations (1 minute 13 seconds)
History of Mill Development (2 minutes 27 seconds)
Childhood at the Mill (28 seconds)
Tom Wilson's family has been milling for six generations, over 150 years. Tom talks about the mill's operations, history, and his family's experiences.


 
Alexander's Mill, 1915.
Alexander Mill (Wilson's Mill), 1915.
NPS Collection

Did You Know?

Dragonfly image by NPS volunteer John Catalano.

Dragonflies and damselflies look almost alike while flying. However, if you wait until they land, dragonflies lay their wings to the side while damselflies lay them back and above their bodies.