Lathrop and Blodgett’s Mill

Trenham F - LabelsThe next photo in the series of Glenwood Photographs taken in 1876 by N.J. Trenham, is the “Grist Mill” or “Lathrop & Blodgett’s Mill” or “Young & Clark Mill”. (We have multiple copies of all of these images and they often have different labels. Assembling and sorting out all the different labels has been a large part of this project.)

According to G.C. Torguson in his contribution to the Statewide History project in 1942, the mill  was located 20 rods east of Franklin Avenue 80 rods south of the N.P. Railroad viaduct. “The mill was established by Barret E. Blodgett some time before 1870. The mill had a capacity of about 7 barrels of flour per day. It was powered by an overshot waterfall about 15-20 feet in diameter. Each bucket on the wheel had a barrel of water. The water supply was a troublesome part of the undertaking and evidence can still be seen (in 1942) where a ditch was dug across Highway 29 to the springs on the hillside. It is also said that an effort was made to take the water from the present State Fish Hatchery supply. According to what old settlers say, this plan was not a success as the fall was not enough to bring the necessary amount of water to the mill.
“Some time after the mill was started, Mr. Blodgett sold a partnership to James Young. InTrenham F 1873 or 1874, this man was killed in the mill. He was working close to a large gearing when the sleeve of his jacket caught on it. He screamed to Blodgett to take an ax and cut off his arm. Blodgett instead tried to stop the water wheel, and being excited, he failed and Young was mangled to death. Mr. Young’s brother Samuel then came to Glenwood and took over his dead brother’s interest. Some time later Mr. Blodgett sold his own remaining interest to a Mr. Persons Clark.
“Then Young and Clark, the new owners, began experimenting with a turban water wheel for power. This was a failure. In an issues of a 1877 Glenwood Newspaper they placed an ad stating they had both steam and water power for grist and feed grinding. a 15 horse power portable steam engine was purchased at Swift Falls. About this time 4 other flour mills were built. The mills at Swift Falls and Terrace and the West and Marlow Mills on the east Chippewa River and southeast of Glenwood. These other milles were larger and had a good water supply and dams and soon put the little Glenwood Mill out of business.
“On April 13, 1878 the following ad appeared – which is the last newspaper record we have of the mill ‘For Sale A Valuable Mill Privilege and 160 acres of Land. A first class water power situated in the northwestern part of the village of Glenwood.'” (G.C. Torguson – WPA papers)

The November 4, 1871 issue of the Glenwood Eagle reported: “Lathrop & Blodgett’s mill is now running day and night. The spring which has required considerable engineering and much labor will soon be brought into the main creek will insure them a steady, unceasing, and abundant supply of water. The fact of one spring furnishing water sufficient for running a mill shows that their mill is to be permanent. The building is composed of grout, three stories high, and when completed will contain two run of burrs. It is at present grinding feed, corn, and Graham flour, but as soon as the necessary machinery can be procured they will turn their attention to flouring.”

The label on one copy of this Trenham photo read “Clark and Young Mill built by Blodgett and E.S. Lathrop.” Emory Sprague Lathrop was the brother of Alfred Crofts Lathrop, the Methodist minister and of Ebenezer Lathrop, probate judge. He was uncle to A.W. Lathrop, the lawyer / judge / miller and primary developer of Glenwood. Lathrop family files indicate that Emory Sprague Lathrop was indeed a miller in Glenwood in the very early days of the city.

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3 Responses to Lathrop and Blodgett’s Mill

  1. Susan Bodeker says:

    I am really excited to read and see the old history of the city I have lived in for a long time.I like old houses and everytime I see one demolished I wish it could be saved and re-done back to its days of glory.(like the Bickle home). So far when I see the first businesses that were build, they were not very attractive, but it served the needs of the people. I look forward to whatever you will be showing us in the next article. Thank you, Susan

  2. Pingback: Mill and Power Plant Site | Pope County Museum – Museum Musings

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