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picture27sep08-085

Nielsen Grist Mill

The Nielsen Grist Mill is located at the foot of the Thousand Lake Mountain on the edge of the scenic country referred to by ancient Indians as “The Land of Sleeping Rainbow.” Constructed around 1893 for Hans Peter Nielsen by his son-in-law, Niels Hansen, the mill was known as the Thurber Rolling Mills. Water for powering the mill was channeled from the Fremont River and dropped 22 feet through a wooden pope to the turbine that ran the mill.

The mill still has a double stand of Wolf Rolls and two double stands of McNalley Rolls with scalpers under each that are spouted to the various elevator legs. Sixteen elevators with five reels for flour milling are found in the mill. The Barnard and Leas dust collector and the turbine with belting still have the pulleys made of native wood, ready for use. Old models of Howe Scales, one for weighing wheat and one for weighing flour sacks, still exist. All equipment is in good shape, including the cash register. The mill produced flour, germade, shorts, and bran, each coming from individual sprouts.

farmers would receive one sack of flour for each three sacks of wheat. All 48-pound bags of flour were sewn by hand. The space between the ears was sewn with a long, sharp needle with a built-in thread cutter.

The mill made flour for the surrounding area for 40 years. Improved roads, constructed in the 1930s, spelled the beginning of the end for the Thurber Rolling Mills. Since Wayne County could not grow hard wheat, which made the best bread, it became just as east to truck in flour as hard wheat.