Former James Patterson Mill
The Grist Mill
Links and documents
1880/01/01 to 1948/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Grist Mill in Hunter River is a renovated wood framed and wood shingled building. It features an array of six-over-six windows, gable roofs, and gable roofed dormers.
The mill is valued as a rare example of a functioning water wheel powered grist mill in Prince Edward Island and for its association with the Patterson family of Hunter River.
James Patterson (1816-1907) emigrated from Norwich in Norfolk County, England in 1841. He would establish grist and lumber mills and a store in the village of Hunter River. His son, also James Patterson (1853-1942) later operated the mill. Meacham's 1880 Atlas shows the property as then comprising 113 acres. It was around this time that the original mill buildings were lost in a fire and subsequently rebuilt. Grist mills were designed to grind clean grains into flour. Grains were clean when they had their stalks removed after threshing. Local farmers would take their harvested grains from their fields to grist mills to be ground into flour for food. Gristmills could also grind locally grown corn into meal.
A third generation, James Wellington Patterson (1891-1974), later operated the mill. The mill property was later the site of the Hunter River Hydro Electric Company which generated electricity for the village. James Wellington also installed the first electric street lights in the area.
Later owners of the property included Lefuta Wood, who owned it until 1938 when he sold the electrical generating system to the Maritime Electric Company. In 1944, Reagh Bagnall (1909-1991) purchased the saw mill from Wood and operated a door and window manufacturing business. He added an addition to the 1880 structure in 1948.
The current owners purchased the property in 2003 and have undertaken a substantial rehabilitation of the site. The original building was raised 3 feet and moved back 6 feet. A new stone and concrete foundation was added. The new wood cedar shingles were made on the site and the replacement windows and doors were also made locally. A new water wheel was later installed.
Today, the grist mill stands as an important reminder of the early industrial history of the province and is an asset to the Village of Hunter River.
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4320-20/G6
The heritage value of the mill is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the wood frame and wood cedar shingle cladding
- the stone and concrete foundation
- the array of six-over-six windows
- the gable roof with cedar shingles
- the three cupolas
- the Scotch dormer
- the gable roofed dormers
- the water wheel
Prince Edward Island
Province of Prince Edward Island
Heritage Places Protection Act
Designated Historic Place
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Technology and Engineering
Function - Category and Type
- Food and Beverage Manufacturing Facility
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4320-20/G6
Cross-Reference to Collection