The Millbrook and Cavan Historical Society is committed to preserving the stories and the artifacts, manuscripts and photographs that serve to illustrate the history of Millbrook, Cavan and the surrounding district in south central Ontario (Canada) for the present and future generations. It also seeks to inspire interest in the value of local history by keeping the stories alive.
The story we are keeping alive right now is that of Needler's Mill. There has been a mill next to the Millbrook Dam since John and James Deyell built the first one in the 1820s. That mill established Millbrook as a community. The mill currently on that site - Needler's Mill - was built in 1830 by Adam Scott. It was moved to Millbrook from Cedar Valley, 6 km downstream, when the mill in Millbrook burned in 1909.
This spring, two things happened to threaten Needler's Mill: the Conservation Authority, which has owned the mill since 1967, declared heritage mills surplus to the Authority's needs; and the Chief Building Official placed an Unsafe Building Order on Needler's Mill. To prevent the mill from being demolished, the conditions of the Unsafe Building Order had to be met.
The Millbrook and Cavan Historical Society negotiated through the summer with the Conservation Authority to purchase the iconic structure. The condition of the sale: the Historical Society must address the Unsafe Building Order and the requirements of the Conservation Authority by moving the flour/grist mill (the 1830 structure) onto a new solid foundation immediately west of its current location by October 31 of this year. The Historical Society has estimated that this will cost $90,000. To find out more about saving Needler's Mill and the fundraising campaign, please go to our fundraising website: www.savethedammill.com
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The Historical Society brings community members and visitors together on a regular basis to broaden and deepen our knowledge and understanding of the history of this area. We bring a variety of speakers to our gatherings over the course of each year.
We are looking forward to the first of our gatherings for the 2015-16 season. On Thursday, September 24, 7 pm, in the Fireside Lounge at Centennial Place, Millbrook we will celebrate Memories of the Mill - and the Path to Making New Memories Possible. Community members will share memories of the mill and we'll present our plan for preserving this community heritage building so that new memories will continue to grow around this vital landmark. We will also thank the people who have worked tirelessly over the past months to save the mill from demolition.
We also answer all genealogy inquiries and help in directing those tracing family roots to relevant resources. A key local resource is 'This Green & Pleasant Land - Chronicles of Cavan Township' originally printed in 1990 by the Millbrook & Cavan Historical Society. We have reproduced this volume on DVD or a 2 CD set. The entire 465 page volume, including 130 family histories and Tremaine's 1861 map of the township showing landowners, is fully searchable in the DVD/CD format, and is available for $20 (plus postage) from the Historical Society.
Our newspaper indexing project is one of our major projects, as we work in partnership with the Ontario Genealogy Society. We have also embarked on an Oral Histories project.