Cache Page (Geocaching.com): Lane’s Mill
Lane’s Mill was the second geocache we tried to find today. I had a relatively good idea where the mill was located, although I’d never known it was there prior to finding out about it on the website. I really enjoy historic sites like this one, and so I was eager to visit. We had our chance when we were called to transport a patient out of the hospital in Oxford. Since it was a scheduled transport, we had some time prior to the call, and decided to stop.
The building is significantly more impressive in person than it is in pictures and is well worth the visit, despite the decrepit condition. It saddens me immensely to see the building falling apart. Unfortunately, the exact location of the water wheel is difficult to determine, but I suspect it’s marked by a large section of collapsed stonework to the rear of the building. The mill property is all private, so theoretically, the cache is hidden nearby, and not on the property itself. We couldn’t find it. I suspect it was originally located under an abandoned mailbox nearby but the hole under the mailbox was empty when we got there.
As such, I didn’t log the cache as found. Hopefully the cache owner will go check the cache, but who knows. It was still worth the trip despite the lack of a find. Be sure to check out the pictures below. I’d love to get permission to get inside the building and photographically document what’s left before the building collapses forever. I may look into that soon. In the mean time, I guess we’ll have to be satisfied with looking from afar.
Here is some of the information I learned on Lane’s Mill:
Lane’s Mill was a gristmill, sawmill and fulling mill on Four Mile Creek in Section 31 of Milford Township, within two miles of the present corporate limit of Oxford. 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 the “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 south- western 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.
3/23/2006 – Sandy Cheek and I made another visit while in the area after an Ambulance transport and finally found this one! Here’s my geocaching.com log!
4/21/2012 – I was enjoying revisiting some old cache listings when I read in the geocache listing for this one that the mill has finally collapsed, apparently as a result of the hurricane force winds we got from the remains of hurricane Ike. I guess I’m going to have to revisit this one for an updated look.
6/11/2014 – As I was revisiting this again, I found this entry about the mill on darrtown.com. Such a shame that the mill was allowed to be destroyed.