Greenville Creek runs through the land, not only powering the Mill, but offering a resting place and home to over 44 species of birds and 37 species of trees. Wildlife includes the badger and other small animals.
Regardless of the season, the enterprising photographer will find limitless opportunities to build (or add to) an historical or ecological portfolio. The starkness of winter on Dec. 14 is shown in the north side of the Mill as the creek leaves the turbines below the structure to continue its journey north. On the south side of the Mill is a walking path to the dam diverting the route of the creek to the Mill’s turbines. Due to the recent weather pattern, the creek’s surface to the south is frozen. To the north it runs freely.
According to Merri Niekamp, outreach director for the Mill, there’s so much people don’t know about it. In a recent ecological survey, the Mill and its 37 acres were referred to as “a unique historical asset in one special place.”
Niekamp worked for previous owners Terry and Julie Clark; she now works for the new owners, Friends of the Mill, a 501c3 corporation.
“Things are going well,” she said. “The sale was final in October. We’ve had a lot of board meetings… we’re working on board development, planning, committee structures, short- and long-term goals… the basics of our strategic planning.”
She was quick to point out the grant the Friends obtained was an acquisition grant (to purchase the mill) only. The organization will continue to follow its funding goals as before: grants, the Mill Store and Art Gallery, and individual and business donations. They have more than 200 Friends of the Mill and a dozen corporate friends.
“Corporate support will be a strong focus this year,” she said.
In addition to its seasonal open houses and variety of other events, the mill conducts individual and group tours for clubs, home school groups and schools. The cost is $5 per person and is conducted by former owner and “Bears Mill Ranger” Terry Clark, and their Bears Mill docent Lois Smith. It includes coffee, water and cookies, as well as a free sample and recipe from the Mill Store. The tour is for groups of 15 or more and must be scheduled in advance. Niekamp said all ages enjoy the tours, however school tours typically work best with fourth graders, as their focus is Ohio history.
On most Saturdays (call to confirm), Ranger Clark also conducts a free tour at 2 p.m.
During January and February, Bear’s Mill is open Thursday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The rest of the year the Mill is open daily 11 to 5. The phone number is 548-5112.
|The north side of historic Bear’s Mill shows Greenville Creek as it continues its journey north after moving through the turbines powering the Mill. (Bob Robinson photo)|