This is Phelps Mill, in Ottertail County, about fourteen miles northeast of Fergus Falls, Minnesota. It was originally known as Maine Roller Mills.
This mill began operations in 1889 and prospered as a flour mill in the age of hyrdopower that predated steam, gas, and electric mills. The plaque on-site says it closed for good in 1939. The sign shown below says 1931.
Ottertail County bought the site in 1965, and ten years later it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
We drove up to the mill one weekend afternoon and I was surprised to see the mill standing with the door wide open, welcoming travelers who were passing through. There is also a really nice little riverside park here, perfect for a picnic.
This place has it’s own arts and crafts festival every year in July.
The restoration and development referenced in the sign above is largely credited to a campaign by local activist Geneva Tweten, referenced on the plaque below.
The mill is open to the public and pretty well-trafficked on a beautiful day like this. We saw twenty or more vehicles come through while we were there, which is pretty impressive considering the remoteness of the site. I also discovered my cellphone was reception was less-than-total.
The fall colors were just starting to show.
The Ottertail River is gorgeous from above.
This window was covered in flies, and for just a moment I had an Amityville flashback.
Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC