A bit of backyard history
By Jennifer Ely
Schech’s Mill by Sheldon has been with us for a very long time, but people might not know that Schech’s Mill is the oldest, only surviving operational water mill with original equipment today.
Ed Krugmire is the owner and operator of the historic site. Krugmire said the mill has been in his family since 1887.
Krugmire said he only uses the flour he makes from the mill. He never uses store bought products. He thinks this is a great way to stay healthy because home-made flour is the closest thing to organic, and he wishes more stores would buy his flour so people will stay healthy and have great, quality tasting flour.
“Having a mill is something unique, different and cool to have that no one else can have,” Krugmire said.
People can experience a trip back in time while partaking in a tour at Schech’s Mill.
“People get to see how the corn meal is made and how the flour is grounded. They also get to see how 100-year-old equipment can be run like it used to be back in 1887,” Krugmire said.
Schech’s Mill did not come out of the 2007 flood unscathed.
Having a damn right next to the mill was not the best thing when the floods came because the river became flooded and wiped out the entire damn and flooding the mill’s basement. The mud was knee deep and created a lot of work.
For Krugmire, the mill is a combined hobby and job. Krugmire said, “I like to get things working to how they were originally. It’s hard to get the parts you need because you have to travel all over to find the right part for that specific thing. And, you don’t want to find a part that is too technically advanced because then you lose the whole purpose of having an antique, original mill.”
Krugmire said he’d like to think that his dad would be very proud of him showing people the mill and trying to get more people to come visit. His dad loved sharing the historic site with the public.
The benefits totally outweigh the disadvantages to owning a mill, he indicated.
“You can grind anything you want, and you don’t have to pay electricity for all the power you need because it’s water powered by the damn.”
“Some disadvantages of having a mill are the time, patience and connections that you have to have with people,” he said, adding that parts are hard to come by.
Krugmire was very pleased to tell about a photographer group that recently toured Schech’s Mill. Krugmire said they shared a variety of different pictures with him through email and raved about their experience.
They loved how Krugmire moved slowly and let them wander on their own at their own pace.
Krugmire wishes that more people would stop by and see the mill. “Local people live so close by but never stop in. They always say they will but never have. They need to take advantage of an original working powered mill they have right next door, especially when people travel from all over the world to see something like this,” Krugmire said.