Waupaca, WI – May 21, 2013
Mom, Cheryl and I decided to pay a visit to The Red Mill, a historic attraction just outside of Waupaca, WI on the Crystal river. Cheryl thought I would enjoy seeing the mill. She has been coming to visit the Red Mill periodically since her childhood days.
The grounds are very scenic and serene, with the Crystal river flowing beside the mill. There is a covered footbridge crossing over the river leading to a small Chapel. We also were accompanied by a friendly cat who followed Cheryl around the grounds.
Fortunately, our visit to the mill was before the tourist season started. We had the grounds to ourselves. We met the owner by the small Chapel who told us business has been slow, but that tourist season starts soon.
If your ever in the Waupaca, WI area, stop by, it worth visiting.
History of the Red Mill of Waupaca
The 2.5 story frame mill was built in 1855 to grind grain for the farmers of the Little Hope and Waupaca, Wisconsin communities on the Crystal River. Two metal waterwheels were employed; one for grinding flour,cornmeal, and graham flour, and the second for livestock feed grinding. The Crystal River Mill ran for over 100 years until closing and being sold at auction in 1959.
A builder, Sterling Shrock, purchased the mill; and, along with another builder, started some renovations in 1960 for Delmar & Edna Schmidt, who had in turn bought the mill. The Schmidts planned to use the mill as a furniture/furnishings store. Shrock and Schroeder built a wooden waterwheel of 1700′s era in 1963, a covered bridge over the Crystal River in 1970, and added the Chapel-in-the-Woods in 1974. The chapel is a great place for reflection and contemplation and also serves for numerous weddings each year at $100 dollars a couple.
The wheel sufficed for 12 years, until the wooden axle rotted too much to continue use. The mill is now a museum/gift shop run by Delmar & Edna’s son Donald. The upper two floors provide 5,000 sq ft of space for gift shop museum purposes, while the ground floor provides living quarters for the Shmidts. “This old mill”, according to Mr. Shmidt contains a room designated as an old fashioned store, while another is a Christmas year-around gifts and knick-knacks room.
Mr. Shmidt still has the original millstones and some early flour sacks from the Crystal River Grist Mill. The 24 foot water wheel is now purely decorative in nature.