They’re creepy, creaky, and cool…the old barn-shaped (and other) mills that stand tall, silhouetting the night (and day) skies.

Old crumbling mills have had their day in song and film:
“Down By The Old Mill Stream” (song)
“The Old Mill” (cartoon)
“Mill Boys” (song)
“The Old Mill Pond” (cartoon)
“Secret of the Old Mill” (Hardy Boys book)

Old abandoned mills have become a staple of scary buildings – one particular creepy scene is from a 1932 Danish horror movie titled “Vampyr”, where a man is suffocated by flour in a grain mill.

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Okay, before we go any further, here’s how the Merriam-Webster dictionary explains mills:
1) a building provided with machinery for processing and especially for grinding grain into flour
2) a building or collection of buildings with machinery for manufacturing

Many of the old mills in Michigan still exist, but a good number have either been demolished or crumbled on their own. Flour mills, saw mills, grist mills, shingle mills, wind mills, water mills, horse mills…..roller, stamp, cider, paper, steel, sugar, textile…..just to name a handful.

The old mills that still dot the countryside and along downtown river banks are the remnants of that particular town’s main business income. Kids trespass in them, paranormal investigators attempt to capture proof of spirit activity, and others just want the thrill of seeing what the insides of these classic old structures look like.

The photo gallery below shows fifty of Michigan’s various old mills; a few ruins, but mostly the way they looked standing against the sky as far as 120 years ago…

The Old Mills of Michigan


Michigan Lawyers, 1855-1940S

Inside Vintage Michigan Saloons

Michigan Parties

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