Description of Historic Place
The Otterville Mill is located on the south side of Main Street West, west of Dover Street, east of Church Street and east of the Otter River, in Mill Park, in the Village of Otterville, Township of Norwich. The three-storey post and beam mill building, with fieldstone foundation, was constructed in 1845.
The property was designated, by the Township of Norwich, in 1982, for its historical or architectural value or interest, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 5-82).
The Otterville Mill overlooks the Otter River and is sited in a picturesque meadow, within the center of the village and surrounded by a forest.
The Otterville Mill is one of the oldest continuously operated wheel powered mills in Ontario. Built in 1845, by Edward Bullock, and operated by Matthew Maddison, it was used as a grist and flour mill, with an annual capacity of 20,000 bushels. The first mill on the site was built, in 1807, by John Earle and Paul Avery. The wooden water wheel mill, operated by a water turbine, greatly contributed to the early commerce of Otterville in the 19th century. It was also the hub of the farming community, as many farmers visited it weekly to have their cattle feed ground.
In later years, the mill was purchased by Solomon Lossing, son of Peter Lossing, who is credited with founding one of the most successful Quaker settlements in Canada. Solomon, who took over as a spokesman for the Quakers in Norwich after his father's death, in 1833, bought the property in 1880. The Lossing family had the ownership of the mill for 60 years, during which it became known as the Treffry Mill.
The Otterville Mill ceased commercial use in 1981, but continues to be operated by the South Norwich Historical Society, under lease from the township. The property is now known as Mill Park and is the site of an annual barbecue.
The Otterville Mill is an exemplary three-storey frame mill of simple post and beam construction with a fieldstone foundation. The ground floor posts are chamfered, for decoration, and the purlins measure eight inches by forty feet. The impressive construction and materials of the mill are accented by the 20 and 24 pane windows. Also of note are the eaves with wide overhangs and returning cornices.
Source: Township of Norwich, By-law 5-82.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Otterville Mill include its:
- central location in the Village of Otterville
- proximity to the Otter River
- continuous operation since 1845 as a wheel powered mill
- placement of the Mill near the site of the 1807 Otter River Mill
- post and beam construction with fieldstone foundation
- front gable roof
- 20 and 24 pane windows
- eaves with wide overhangs and returning cornices
- chamfered ground floor posts
- 8 inches by 40 feet purlins