Built in 1831 and powered by the water from the first canal built in the United States, Adams Grist Mill in Bellows Falls is truly a remarkable building.
From now until foliage season is over, Frank Hawkins of Bellows Falls has volunteered to open the mill for visitors every Saturday and Sunday afternoon from noon to 4 p.m. The mill is located, appropriately enough, on Mill Street, which is at the south end of The Square, right beside The Messenger's offices.
Because the mill was in use up until the early 1960s, it didn't fall into disrepair like so many other industrial buildings from the 1800s.
In fact, when the mill was closed, the slate-roofed wood and stone structure was locked up as a working facility, and all of the original equipment is still inside and essentially in working order.
In 1927, when the hydroelectric facility was built nearby, the gristmill was converted from water power to electricity, as the powerplant was now using the canal's water to power its generators.
The Bellows Falls Historical Society supervises the building, and over the years have used it to house a growing collection of area historical artifacts.
Inside are historic signs, kitchen wares, horse and oxen muzzles, a chest filled with the millwright's tools, bottles, cameras, old radios, games, toys and more. All of the grain elevators are still intact, as are the scales and power supply system.
In it's day, Bellows Falls was a major manufacturing center and the mill houses a nice collection of stoves and Vermont Farm Machinery Company pieces as well.