Heading to Northeast Nebraska was always a part of my plan for my big Labor Day week-end travel trip last year. But then I ran out of time before I ran out of miles. So I postponed my adventure until later on in September. That was both a blessing and possibly a challenge. My family was along with me on this part of the journey. Which often is good but our ultimate destination was Minnesota. No one was exactly thrilled with me that we continued to need to take our Nebraska detours. That’s the thing about going a bit out of your way – some people appreciate it more than others. 🙂 But I was happy because I was finally able to visit a spot that had intrigued me for awhile. Neligh Mill is on the edge of … Neligh. I bet you are surprised by that fact. 🙂
Because my family was done with my adventures at this point in the day, I convince them while I ran in to take several pictures, that they could enjoy watching an episode of tv in the minivan. You see – sometimes moms need to know when to not push their luck. But I greatly enjoyed my quick trip through Neligh Mill. And I regretted not trying to convince my family of the merits of the stop because I think that they would have learned a lot.
As you can possibly tell from this picture on the right, the Neligh Mill building is quite large. Evidently running a premier mill operation requires a bunch of space. On page 67 and 68 in my Detour Nebraska book you can find out more about when and why the flour production increased in amount. This mill has made quite the impact from its Nebraska location. Maybe that is why it is one of the official Nebraska State Historic Sites.
From the steam that was needed for production to all of the equipment required to sift out the grain, this building is filled from top to bottom. Did I mention there are three floors to tour? Everyone can go to certain areas, but some of the stairs are rather steep and possibly not for those who cannot easily go up and down.
My favorite Neligh Mill photograph is found in black and white in the book. But there are enough other pictures that are also interesting that I wanted to share them here as well. Neligh Mill is the only mill across the state with all of its equipment still fully intact. You can tell that the mill has not been operational for sometime since you can definitely see traces of dust and grime across the equipment. Personally I think that makes it feel more authentic.
I must confess that since I did go on such a whirlwind tour, I did not pay enough attention as to which section was on what floor. So I might be showing you pictures that are in completely the wrong order as far as production goes. My apologies for that. I did pay for a tour guide book to try to help me learn more about the history of this fascinating place. But I may end up sending the link to the on-site historian, so he can set me right on my facts.
My guess is that this cleared out area on the right was once used as the shipping or storage area. But again, I might be completely off track on that as well. I do know that my kids would have enjoyed pushing each other around on the cart. Perhaps it was a good thing that I did not bring them in.
Before you enter into the actual Neligh Mill, there is a small building to the front. This is the former museum office that has now been turned into a bit of a showcase for some of the books about the Mill. You can also buy some souvenirs or other items to take home. This is also where you can pay the admission fee. Adults do have to pay a small bit to tour the museum. Children are free. The price is so low, that I am certain that it does not cover everything. So they also accept donations. This mill is definitely worth the stop.
The Neligh Mill Bridge
What else is fun about this location is the fact that it is right next to an old-fashioned bridge. This roadway was crucial both to the town and to the mill’s survival. The bridge does not get quite as much traffic today, so this is a fun place to stop to take a picture.