• Photo of the Beaver Marsh by Jeffrey Gibson.

    Cuyahoga Valley

    National Park Ohio

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  • NPS Seeks Comment on Proposed Regulation for Off-Road Bicycle Trails

    NPS has proposed a special regulation to designate and authorize off-road bicycle use on new trails constructed outside of developed areas in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The public is invited to provide comment until Monday, December 15, 2014. More »

  • Other Closures

    Valley Bridle Trail south of SR 303, across from golf course, is collapsed by river. Hard closure. Plateau Trail Bridge, north of Valley Picnic Area is closed. No detours. Plateau & Oak Hill trails are open. More »

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?

Historic photo of canal boats along the Ohio & Erie Canal.

The Ohio & Erie Canal, which runs through Cuyahoga Valley National Park, was a 308-mile waterway connecting Lake Erie to the Ohio River. This transportation route, which influenced local and national prosperity, was dug entirely by hand by mostly German and Irish immigrants.