Introduction

There is no known "official" history of Darrtown. The best we have to work with are the Darrtown-related articles, journals, and/or stories that are handed down from one generation to the next. This "History" section of Darrtown.com provides an unofficial, well-intentioned, collection of such information.

 

Some items, in this website, conflict with others; such is the lot of those who attempt to capture history. We gather as many pieces of the puzzle as we can, position them to the best of our ability, and a more accurate record of the past gradually evolves.

 

If you have information that enriches this collection of Darrtown-related history and/or makes it more accurate, please contact the Webmaster.

"History never looks like history,

when you are living through it."

John W. Gardner (1933-1982)

Lane's Mill

This page provides information about Lane's Mill, which was added to the National Register of HIstoric Places in 1980.

 

Unfortunately, the mill no longer exists.

 

The site of Lane's Mill is located about two miles southwest of Darrtown (see map below). Directions to the Lane's Mill site appear below, along with several images of the old structure.

Background

Early settlers of the Darrtown area recognized the flowing waters of the Four MIle creek as a power source for water-driven lumber and grain mills.

 

The configuration of the Four Mile Creek, near the intersection of Lane's Mill Road and Wallace Road in southwestern Milford Township, offered an ideal location for milling.

 

A wood-frame mill was built at this site in 1816, which was only two years after the village of Darrtown was established.

 

In 1848, the wood-frame mill was replaced with a handsome and functional stone structure (see images below).

Lane's Mill was a combination saw, grist, and fulling mill that was constructed in 1848.

 

The mill was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

 

The stone structure that is seen in the photographs on this page was preceded by a wood-frame mill that was constructed on the same site in 1816, just two years after Conrad Darr platted the village of Darrtown.

 

Unfortunately, as seen in some of the following images, the mill fell into disrepair in the late 20th century.

 

Unfortunately, the mill was razed, after the turn of the 21st century.

Location of Lane's Mill

 

 As indicated by the image below, the mill site was located approximately two miles southwest of Darrtown, on the west side of the Four Mile Creek, near the intersection of Lane's Mill Road and Wallace Road.

Directions to Mill Site

 

To reach the site of the former Lane's Mill from downtown Darrtown, travel west on Schollenbarger Road. Where Schollenbarger Road turns right (west), continue south on

Lane's Mill Road, along Four Mile Creek.

 

Excerpts from other websites

 

In February, 2010, the following description of Lane's Mill appeared at the Abandoned Ohio web site:

 

"The mill site was established around 1816 when Isiah Bryant and John Wallace built a wood-frame mill.

 

This particular mill was built in 1848 by William Elliot, where the original mill stood. It was constructed from limestone that was quarried from Four Mile Creek, which was the same creek that supplied the water power to the undershot waterwheel. This was a combination of a saw, grist, and fulling mill. In 1853, a tragic accident inside the mill claimed Elliot's life.

 

William Lane purchased the mill after Elliot's death. It became known as Lane's Mill from then on. William successfully operated the mill up until 1898. Lane's Mill was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Despite that, there has been no attempt to preserve or restore it."

 

A Wikipedia entry reported the following in February 2010:

 

"The abandoned mill is on Lanes Mill Road, north of Wallace Road. The original mill was built about 1816 by Isiah Bryant and John Wallace, who also operated the mills for several years.

 

It was rebuilt in 1850 by William Elliott (or Elliot) as a three-story mill, and its owners included James Smiley and later his son-in-law, William L. Lane of Oxford, whose name remains attached to the mill and the road. The Lane's Mill Historic Buildings, 3884 Wallace Road, were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

 

The web site of the Ohio Historic Preservation Office of the Ohio Historical Society says: Lane's Mill Historic Group is a significant embodiment of 19th century mill activity in rural Butler County. The mill building, constructed 1848-1850, is also significant as being one of the few and probably the finest representations of stone mill architecture in southwestern Ohio. Lane's Mill occupies a site that has been devoted to mill operations since 1816, and by 1837 was a locally important focal point for the processing of grain and wood.

 

Butler County in 1850, was the state's largest producer of Indian corn. William Elliot, cognizant of the demands to process this raw material, constructed the large, handsome mill in 1848. It was an undershot variety, powered by a race constructed for the previous mills. In 1853, Elliot erected the frame farmhouse; soon thereafter he was killed in an accident at the mill.

 

The mill acquired its present name from William Lane, who owned the mill until 1898. The Manrod family owned and operated the farm complex after the 1880s."

 

The Old Mills website offered the following information about Lane's Mill. Several images of the mill in disrepair are available at this site.

 

"Lane's Mill was built in 1848 by William Elliot. William Elliot was killed in an accident in the mill in 1853. William Lane bought the mill and operated it until 1898. The farm complex including the mill, house and barn has since belonged to the Manrod Family.

 

Lane's Mill is 3 1/2 story beautiful structure. It was built with cut limestone that was quarried from Four Mile Creek, the water supply for the mill. The original roof was shake and was covered in 1970 with asphalt shingles. The building is covered with vines and brush trees that hide the impressive structure. The wooden gables are seriously deteriorated and the windows are gone. Above each window opening is a stone segmental arch lintel. Each window sill has a protruding slab of stone.

 

The area surrounding the mill is so overgrown that identifying the location of the undershot waterwheel is impossible. The millrace is easily identified. At its origin, the millrace is 30' wide and 8' deep. It becomes narrower as it approaches the mill. The tailrace parallels Four Mile Creek for 3000 feet. The millrace and tailrace have not been changed significantly but they are overgrown with trees and brush.

 

Although the mill area is not maintained and the mill is seriously deteriorated, it is still worth a visit. Just the stone work alone is architecturally significant. Lane's Mill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. ('Lane's Mill.')"

 

The "Dust to Dust" website provides ten photos of Lane's Mill, as it was being demolished.

 

 

More Background on Lane's Mill

 

In April 2012, Larry and Debbie Garver contributed documents and images about the Manrod family, which included a newspaper article about the Old Lanes Mill. See Families - Manrod.

Lane's Mill Images

 

The next two photographs were contributed by Kirk Mee III. Both images are undated. However, Kirk III reported that the person seen crossing the creek, in the first photo (immediately below) is his father, Kirk Mee II, who was born in 1911. So, it seems reasonable to assume that these two photos were taken during the first quarter of the 20th century.

BELOW: This photo was taken from the top of the bluff that stands on the east side of Four Mile Creek

and looks southwest toward Lane's Mill (the three-story stone structure in the center of the photo).

BELOW: A handwritten note on the back of the following image referred to the "bluffs" on the east side of Four Mile Creek.

That land formation appears in the background of this image. The original photograph also displayed a handwritten caption that read,

"Edna in buggy, with Bertha Miller in creek, down by Manrod's."

The Kirk Mee I family page contains a reference to John Mee and his sister, Edna - so, the "Edna" in this image may have been Edna Mee.

RIGHT: Lane's Mill (circa 2005)

 

Image found at the

Ohio Barns website

(2012)

LEFT: Lanes' Mill (circa 2005)

 

Image found at the SciFiCincinnati website

(2012)

The Power of the Internet and a Spirit of Community Enhance the History of Lane's Mill

 

April 2012 _ A SPECIAL "THANK YOU" - to Stan Jankowski from the Darrtown webmaster

OUT OF THE BLUE...

 

On April 3, 2012, the following email message arrived at Darrtown.com.

 

"I live in California and several years ago I acquired at a yard sale a detailed print of the mill of Wm Lane. It details the mill along with all of the buildings and the bridge. I read the articles about how the site is in a state of disrepair. If there are future plans for restoration, perhaps this might be of some use. I would like to donate it so that it becomes a part of the history of the area.

 

If you are interested in having the print please let me know.

 

Thank you

Stan J."

 

...AN ACT OF KINDNESS AND GENEROSITY OCCURS!

 

Upon receiving Stan's email, I immediately responded and eagerly accepted his offer.

 

Subsequently, after a couple of email exchanges, I learned that Stan's last name is Jankowski , that he lives in Apple Valley, California, that the yard sale was in Pasadena, California, and that he would send the print to me.

 

I expected a sketch on paper, probably mailed in a paper envelope.

 

However, when the UPS truck arrived, I received a 15"x12"x3" box that Stan had packaged, addressed, and mailed at his expense.

 

Inside the box, I found a framed illustration of the "Res. & Mill of Wm. L. Lane" (see image below).

 

So, in addition to receiving an unexpected gift for the Darrtown.com website, I also received confirmation that there are indeed kind, thoughtful, and generous individuals among us.

 

Obviously, Stan Jankowski is such a person.

 

Thanks, Stan!

ABOVE: The perspective in this illustration looks north from the south side of Four Mile Creek (which appears in the foreground). The unknown artist was likely positioned in the hills south of the creek to acquire the perspective of looking down upon the Lane farm property.

 

The Four Mile creek, after flowing past this location - left (west) to right (north) - continues for about 1/2 mile; then, the creek turns east and south toward the Great Miami River.

 

The bridge, at the right, is part of Lanes Mill Road, which can be seen (behind/above the barn), meandering northward along Four Mile Creek.

 

Wallace Road appears in the foreground-left, running between the creek and the house. Wallace Road intersects with Lane's Mill Road behind the mill, which is the tallest structure in the illustration.

More Information about Lane's Mill

 

To access a "Newspaper Account of George Manrod and the Lanes Mill" visit the Manrod Family page.

Photo of Lane's Mill - from "Impressions by Allan Miller"

 

Allan Miller shot the photo that appears at the right.

 

In May, 2012, Allan agreed to have the image scanned, which led to this copy.

 

Sandy (Ward) Jolivette deserves credit for contacting Allan and arranging for the scanning of the image.

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