In celebration of Historic Preservation Month, historic sites Bear’s Mill with Staley Mill Farm and Indian Creek Distillery will initiate an innovative new fund-raising event on Saturday, May 4 and Saturday, May 18. “Mills and Stills” will feature informational tours of both sites plus food and music; additionally, the Gallery at Bear’s Mill will be exhibiting watercolors of Staley Mill Farm created by the late Roger Haas plus new pottery created by four local clay artists that recalls the art of the whiskey vessel. Hours for the event are from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. both evenings.
Staley Mill, the oldest grist mill still standing in Ohio, began operation in 1818, thirty-one years before Gabriel Baer built the structure now called Bear’s Mill. In 1820, a distillery was established at the Staley Homestead; with the exception of a decade following the Civil War, this distillery produced rye whiskey until Prohibition was enacted in 1920. That building no longer stands, but a new distillery has been built and is producing rye whiskey in the same copper pot stills that were used almost two hundred years ago. Both the Staley Mill and Indian Creek Distillery will be open for touring during “Mills and Stills;” tastings will also be available.
After Gabriel Baer sold his mill in 1862, the structure saw many owners who provided varying degrees of stewardship; however, the original framework and the inner workings of Bear’s Mill put in place in 1849 remain intact and functional. The original French buhr stones still grind local grains into flours and meals which are sold at the Mill Shop; demonstrations of this process will be included in “Mills and Stills” activities.
Tickets for “Mills and Stills” are $35, and are available at Bear’s Mill and Staley Mill Farm’s Indian Creek Distillery. Ticket price includes all of the amenities previously mentioned, plus a map guiding participants’ travel between the two locations. Deadline for purchasing tickets for the May 4 event is April 27; tickets for May 18 will remain available until May 11.
Bear’s Mill is located at 6450 Arcanum-Bear’s Mill Road, Greenville; the Staley Mill Farm and Distillery’s address is 7095 Staley Road, New Carlisle. For more information, contact Bear’s Mill at 937-548-5112 or Staley Mill Farm and Indian Creek Distillery at 937-846-1443.