By Kimber Caito, Media Coordinator, Fairfield County Park District
June 5, 2021
No series about Fairfield County Park District would be complete without a story about Rock Mill. It is difficult, though, to think of something that hasn’t already been said!
THEN (before 2017) As many of you reading this article know, the restoration of the 1824 gristmill was an arduous decade-long venture. We remember it as an adventure!
In the first eight years of work (2003-2011), progress was slow and halting because there was no regular source of funding that could be earmarked for the restoration. There was even a time when work stopped and the doors were locked. Countless supporters had given their time, labor, skills, money, and materials – was all of it in vain? Then, a countywide ten-year levy passed (2011) that provides funding for the Park District, allowing efforts to continue. Just two years later, the work was complete – Rock Mill was finally resurrected! (See the documentary, “Rock Mill: Saving an Original” on our YouTube channel.)
NOW (2017-2020) In recent years, Rock Mill has been a staple of annual Park programming. The mill was opened on Saturdays and Sundays for visitors to tour and learn about its operation from our Interpretive Historian and volunteers. Taking advantage of the time the building had to be closed because of the pandemic (2020), the waterwheel and forebay were repaired, the mill’s exterior was cleaned, stained and sealed, and the inside received a thorough spring-cleaning. Thanks to Fairfield County Forever, two benches and an ADA-compatible walkway to the front door of the mill were added to the park.
Rock Mill and Rock Mill Covered Bridge are probably the most-visited and most-photographed Fairfield County destinations! Amateur photographer, Bruce Johnson, submitted this artistic rendering of Rock Mill. He explains, “[The] final image is a composite of four images taken at different exposures. Basic adjustments (exposure, contrast, etc.) were done in Lightroom to each of the four images. Then the four images were combined and further edited in Photoshop using the “layers” and the “lighten” modes.” Interesting!
TOMORROW. Visit Fairfield County, the visitor and convention bureau, often highlights Rock Mill in their events. This year it will be featured in their Staycation, Be a Tourist in Your Own Backyard, and ABCs of History tours.
It is our plan to continue to be good stewards of this amazing structure that is a significant part of Fairfield County’s heritage! In May, Rock Mill will be open Wednesdays in addition to Saturdays and Sundays! The experience will be adjusted to meet current required pandemic guidelines, but Rock Mill will be open! See our website Calendar for details. We hope you visit soon!
ll be open Wednesdays in addition to Saturdays and Sundays! The experience will be adjusted to meet current required pandemic guidelines, but Rock Mill will be open! See our website Calendar for details. We hope you visit soon!
Many things have been accomplished with levy funds. Our plans for the next ten years include:
- Continue Operation of
- Educational Programs
- School Field Trips
- Presentations in Classrooms & Land Labs
- Natural & Cultural History Programs
- Annual Special Events
- Self-guided Adventures
- Improve Existing Parks
- add ADA-compatible access
- add playgrounds
- add picnic shelters
- add permanent restrooms
- maintain covered bridges
- maintain historical features
- extend, improve, add trails
- wetland mitigations
- Develop New Parklands
- Misty Valley Park
- Hansel Park (with dog park)
- Wagner Preserve (rookery)
Get outside, beat pandemic fatigue at Fairfield County Parks – We’re here for you! Find this and all locations at fairfieldcountyparks.org.
And…watch for more ‘Then, Now, Tomorrow’ stories.
- Wahkeena & Elias B. Wagner Nature Preserves
- Zeller Park & Lockville Canal Park
- Cross Mound Park & Sensory Trail
- Smeck Park
- Arnery Run & Two Glaciers