Tricounty News

Fair Haven dam wiped out


June 30, 1867, Fair Haven dam and grist mill swept away by flood!

Reprinted from the Tri-County News April 5, 2001.

The first Fair Haven mill was erected in 1859 by O.D. Webb of Fair Haven. The mill dam and a sawmill had been erected in 1857 by Thomas Partridge of Fair Haven. He was one of the founders of Fair Haven. The dam was first built on the site of a beaver dam.

Then, June 30, 1867, the dam and grist mill were swept away by a flood. During the summer of 1867, Jackson Linscott and William Vye rebuilt both the grist mill and dam, with the work being finished Oct. 28, that year.


By 1870, the mill was producing 2,000 barrels of flour a year. It was both a custom and merchant mill. It not only ground flour for the farmers of the area, but also purchased wheat and ground flour for shipment and sale outside the immediate area. The mill was equipped with a water wheel producing 65 horse power and two runs of stone.

By the 1880s, Linscott and Vye had replaced the water wheel to turbine operation. The mill was operating only one run of stones. By 1890, a steam engine had been added to supplement the water power. When Mr. Vye died in 1890, Hans Nelson acquired the mill, and by 1892, he had increased production to 75 barrels a day. Mr. Nelson hired Frank Gertler to operate the mill, and he stayed until 1897. In 1899, Grant Graham acquired the mill for $100, and he stayed for 41 years. He learned his trade from his father who was also a miller. They had been operating mills in Minnesota, in Chippewa County, before they acquired the Fair Haven mill. His “xxx” brand of flour and a breakfast food he manufactured were popular in the area. Graham flour, cracked wheat and
W-F.H.-Mill039cornmeal were also produced at the mill. After Graham’s death, the mill was operated sporadically by various parties. The Minnesota Historical Society says that the Fair Haven mill is the third oldest water-powered grist mill still in the State of Minnesota. The mill is really in Stearns County, but was given to Wright County.

The miller’s house was built around the 1900s; the detailing shows that it was not as old as the mill, but it was built before 1915.

The architecture of the Fair Haven mill is typical of the early grist mills of the 19th century. Few structures have made more efficient use of enclosed space than mills of this type. They were a simple expression of the milling process house within.

The old Fair Haven Mill building, architecture typical of early grist mills of the 19th century, known for efficient use of enclosed space.


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If you hurry, you won’t miss the 2014 Kimball Community and Business Expo at Kimball Area High School, south side entrance. Our special booth opens 8:30 a.m.
and closes at 12:30 p.m. One of the main features for 2014 will be Kimball Area one-room school houses and much more. Historical Society historians will be there, lots of exhibit, handouts and door prizes. That’s Saturday, April 5. Don’t miss it. There is no charge. The Expo is entirely free. Come early, bring family and friends. Extra kids’ area this year.

Want a commemorative All-School Reunion Yearbook? Here’s your chance also for new or renewing membership at the same affordable amount since 2000 when we founded. Both great gift ideas.

Contact the Kimball Area Historical Society at Box 55, Kimball MN 55353, or phone (320)
398-5250, or 5743, or email
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Find us on Facebook also.

Save the evening of April 22, 2014, “New History-Postcard Collecting” from long ago, with Steve Briggs.