Bonneyville Mill

Established in the mid-1830's, Bonneyville Mill has produced quality, stone ground flour for over 150 years. Each year the mill's historical interpreters lead over 30,000 visitors through the "daily grind" while the massive grist stones vibrate under their feet. Across from the mill is The Barn Gift Shop where you will find a variety of unique historical and natural items for sale.

Bonneyville Mill is located in the heart of Bonneyville Mill County Park. The mill is open to the public from May through October. Mill hours are Wednesday thru Sunday, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.. Field trips can be scheduled two weeks in advance by calling 574-535-6458.

History of Bonneyville Mill

During the mid-1830's, Edward Bonney had a vision of a rapidly growing city centered around a sawmill and a grist mill on the Little Elkhart River. He selected the location partly due to its proximity to the Toledo/Chicago trail and the navigable St. Joseph River, providing access to Lake Michigan commerce. When the railroads by-passed the Bonneyville site and the proposed canal system was never developed, Bonney's dream of an urban hub ended. Bonney then sold the mill and went into the tavern business. He was later accused of counterfeiting, forcing him to flee the area as an outlaw.

Bonney had installed a horizontal water wheel, the turbine, which could produce larger quantities of horsepower than the traditional vertical water wheel. This innovation enabled Bonneyville Mill to function as a progressive mill of the era. During the 1880's, milling advanced rapidly by using new innovations to speed the production of flour.Bonneyville Flour is still being made to this day. Many mills were replacing their grist stones with the recently invented roller mill to grind flour. Bonneyville Mill never expanded choosing to remain a "progressive" mill of the civil war era, committed to serving the local farmers and a few merchants.

Bonneyville Mill owners met the challenge of the Depression by forming Bonneyville Power and Electric Company in 1932, supplying hydroelectric power to about 45 customers. Producing livestock feed, custom grinding, speculating in popcorn, dealing in fertilizer, and grinding the "Famous Buckwheat Pancake Flour" was a way of life into the early 1950's. Advancing technology and regulatory legislation eventually overwhelmed the country milling business and the mill owners were forced to sell out.

The mill was purchased by Elkhart County Chapter of Michiana Watershed, Inc. in 1968. It was presented to the Elkhart County Park and Recreation Board in 1969, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in October, 1976. It remains an example of working antiquity by grinding flour from May through October. The mill grinds corn, wheat, rye and buckwheat the old-fashioned way, slowly, methodically as if time was only water over the dam.


Bonneyville Mill Hours
Open to the Public:  
Wednesday thru Sunday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  May thru October

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Elkhart County Parks and Recreation
211 W. Lincoln Ave.
Goshen, IN 46526-3280

Phone 574-535-6458   TDD 574-535-6420