In our recent travels to the Augusta area in Eau Claire County, WI, we found another historic flour and grist mill. Dells Mill, built in 1864, is situated on the banks of Bridge Creek just off Hwy 27 North of Augusta. The overshot waterwheel is just for looks as far as I can tell as this mill was turbine powered in its day.
The number of mills in Wisconsin [& Minnesota] grew tremendously between the mid to late 1800’s. In 1840 there were 33 flour and grist mills in Wisconsin; by 1880 there were just under 1000. By 1900 milling was the second largest industry in Wisconsin, second only to lumber. By 1920, record wheat harvests had taken its toll and depleted the soils ability to produce wheat crops. Abandoned mills became a common fixture on Wisconsin’s landscape as the industry experienced a steep decline in the region from that point forward. Several of these mills have been preserved. Dells Mill was converted to a museum in 1968, but still grinds on special occasions.