Between 1834 and 1837, James Cleaver built a limestone gristmill on 12-Mile Creek, on the east side of Guelph Line in Lowville. Farmers ’wagons discharged their loads of grain at the upper (road) level and re-loaded feed at the lower level. A sawmill operated at the lower level and customers paid their accounts at a desk near the present stable-style front door. The Mill sometimes operated 24 hours a day.
During the 1920s and 30s, miller John Tarzwell and son Emery replaced the original waterwheel and mill machinery. The new waterwheel was the only part of the mill machinery to survive a fire in 1938, which destroyed the top story of the Mill and the bridge linking the structure to the road. Restoration by John’s widow, Florence, and Emery’s widow Catherine, required the removal of the top storey, construction of a new roof and replacement of mill machinery. In April 1940, Catherine married Norman Langton, the new mill manager and they operated the Mill together until 1957 when it was closed.
The derelict Mill was purchased in 1953 by Evelyn and Norman Wright who completely gutted the interior and, by adding another floor, changed it into an interesting home, including a large living area with a massive stone fireplace and beamed ceiling. Being environmentalists, they use water from the millpond to produce electricity, and solar energy to heat the building. To achieve this, a water turbine powered an electric generator in the basement and solar panels were installed on the roof. Ownership changed twice after the Wrights moved and, in 1991, current owners, Martin Hochstein and Elizabeth Cox purchased the Mil.
In 1992, Lowville Mill was designated a heritage site by Burlington L.A.C.A.C.
Contributing Author: Lowville Community Calendar Committee