April 12, 2022 – By Kimber Caito, Media Coordinator, Fairfield County Park District
“Rock Mill Days” is the annual opening of Rock Mill. Visitors are invited to tour the restored 1824 gristmill and, on six special occasions, watch the 200-year-old-milling process. Some even enjoy helping to use the bolter to sift corn meal and bag it. Normally, the first opening is May of each year. This year, however, the opening will be delayed.
Erosion of a layer of sandstone between the milling and gear floors under the mill is cause for a serious safety concern. The top and third layers of rock are stable; sandwiched between the two is a softer, unstable layer. Chunks of rock from that section have fallen and are falling at an increasing rate. Even during the initial inspection by an engineer, pieces dislodged. The issue must be addressed to ensure the structural integrity of the building.
Fairfield County Park District’s Director and members of Fairfield County Board of Park Commissioners do not want to postpone opening day, but the safety of visitors and those who work in the mill is a priority. There will be danger of falling rock and the use of heavy equipment. Stebelton Park at Rock Mill will be temporarily closed until repairs are completed and the building and surrounding area are deemed safe.
Many remember the 2013 grand opening. It was after a decade-long restoration project that Rock Mill again welcomed residents and became a centerpiece of Fairfield County. The documentary, “Rock Mill: Saving an Original”, can be seen in it entirely on our YouTube channel and website. We hope you will enjoy watching it as soon as you can. Please check our website and social media pages for updates.
In the meantime, we invite you to visit the other historical features in our locations such as Cross Mound and the WPA pedestrian bridge, the Ohio & Erie Canal Locks 11-13, and five of the County’s covered bridges. Or “Get Out to Explore & Discover” the trails at Smeck Park in Baltimore, Mambourg Park just east of Lancaster, and Wahkeena Nature Preserve in Sugar Grove!
Find more information at fairfieldcountyparks.org.