Buchanan History – Pears Mill

Pears Mill entrance off Buchanan Common, Photo by Jen Garry

Exploring Pears Mill with The Buchanan Chronicle

by Rebecka Hoyt, Editor
Pears Mill, Photo by Jen Garry

Have you been to Pears Mill lately, or how about, have you ever been to Pears Mill? (Did you know it’s pronounced “PEERS”?)

When you come to the Farmers’ Market, I am sure that you noticed Pears Mill is open. It is only open on Saturdays through Labor Day weekend from 9am – 1pm.

Our Publisher, Jen Garry, and I explored the mill together as our awesome Buchanan Chronicle team held down the fort at our booth at Buchanan Farmers’ Market Saturday, July 24.

While most of the citizens of Buchanan know about the mill, I will give a brief history lesson for those who haven’t experienced it yet or who just need a trip down memory lane.

Corn grinding by water wheel, Photo by Rebecka Hoyt

Pears Mill, built in the mid 1850’s as a grain mill, powered by McCoy Creek water. During this time, there were also “13 other water-powered mills built along the creek,” as it is stated in the Pears Mill brochure. This is the only mill that remains in Buchanan.

McCoy Creek played a major part in Pears Mill and Buchanan construction, Photo by Rebecka Hoyt

The mill has undergone much restoration throughout the years. It was completely “covered in corrugated steel, beam construction, 12 over 12 windows and the native fieldstone basement,” according to the Pears Mill brochure and other signage throughout the mill. The brochure that I picked up at the mill, which you can grab while you are there, has very good information about the mill.

The most impressive thing to see is in the basement where there are HUGE belts that are driven by gears that turn the millstones on the floor that is above where the mill produces flour and meal. You can then poke your head out of the main level window on the north side of the mill to watch the water move the water wheel to provide power!

Water wheel at Pears Mill in Buchanan, Video by Jen Garry

The top level has very interesting old business signs and other farm equipment. There is also “The Donut Shop” sign! Hmm, maybe someone can use this sign or restore it for if/when Buchanan gets a donut shop? Come to the Pears Mill for a free tour and their volunteers will for sure give you a history lesson.

The Donut Shop historic sign, Photo by Rebecka Hoyt

Pears Mill is located downtown Buchanan, MI just off Oak Street ½ block south of Front Street where there is public parking.

Pears Mill Then and Now, Photo by Rebecka Hoyt
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