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Williamsville Water Mill Complex
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Rayman
N 42° 57.823 W 078° 44.686
17T E 683931 N 4759253
Quick Description: This historic building has milled many different things stands in the heart of Williamsville, NY.
Location: New York, United States
Date Posted: 6/24/2006 6:07:19 PM
Waymark Code: WMFJD
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member ChapterhouseInc
Views: 75

Long Description:
Jonas Williams abandoned his first mill on the east side of Ellicott Creek during 1811 to build the present mill on the west side of the creek. A stone dam was constructed at what is now the north end of Island Park and a stone lined raceway carried the water from the mill pond to the mill. The dam and raceway are still in use, although the race is now covered as it flows under Main Street and adjacent buildings.

In 1814, Williams sold the mill with certain land and all the mill rights to Juba Storrs and Company. Because Williams owned land adjacent to the mill pond, he required the company to lower the dam, probably to prevent his property from becoming flooded. The following year, Juba Storrs and Company leased property on the east side of the creek to erect a carding mill. They also established a store at Main and Rock Streets.

During the War of 1812, Juba Storrs and Company had invested heavily to stock their stores. They had purchased $40,000 worth of merchandise with $14,000 and credit. After the war they could not dispose of the stock and were forced into bankruptcy in 1820.

Seven years later Oziel Smith came into possession of the mill by Sheriff's Certificate of Sale and, in 1831, sold the property to Benjamin Hershey. In 1834 Hershey also purchased the "Upper Dam" which still exists. Some historians claim that the manufacture of hydraulic lime began at the mill in 1822 to supply cement for the locks of Erie Canal at Lockport. But Smith's deed to Hershey states that he "is selling a grist mill." It is probable that the manufacture of cement began about 1825.

After various transfers and foreclosures, the property passed to John S. King, Timothy Hopkins and Jairus Tefft in 1844. Tefft sold his interest to Mr. Hopkins in 1857 and the firm became Hopkins and King who operated the cement mill, a saw mill and lime kilns. Later, King sold his interest in the mill to Hopkins, who became sole owner.

In 1866, Timothy Hopkins sold the property to Benjamin Miller, who formed the Williamsville Cement Works with his son, Edward B. When Benjamin Miller died in 1822, the mill continued to be operated by his son.

In 1887, Edward converted the cement mill to a feed and flour mill and renamed it "Eclipse Mills," featuring pure buckwheat flour. In early 1903, heavy ice formation on the flume along the side of the mill caused the flume and saw mill to collapse into the creek. The saw mill was never rebuilt.

When Edward Miller died in 1905, the executors of the Benjamin Miller estate sold the mill property to Joseph G. Jacobi who, in turn sold one-half interest to Ferdinand Senf. In 1908 the mill was modernized. A 100 H.P. water turbine re- placed the large wooden water wheel as the driving mechanism for newly installed "two run of 54-inch French bury stones." A cider press was installed.

In 1947 Jacobi and Klein sold the property and all water rights to Daniel B. and Grace Miller Niederlander. The bright red mill, reconditioned and still operating, can be seen from Main Street.

In 2003, the Millers put the mill up for sale, but no buyers came forth. The village ended up taking it over, and are seeking either a new owner or a tenant.
Street address:
56 E Spring St
Williamsville, NY United States

County / Borough / Parish: Erie

Year listed: 1983

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Water mill

Periods of significance: 1811-present

Historic function: Water mill

Current function: Water mill

Privately owned?: no

Season start / Season finish: From: 1/1/2006 To: 12/31/2006

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Hours of operation: Not listed

Secondary Website 1: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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