The water-powered mill was built in 1845 three miles south of Mifflin to take advantage of the Black Fork River currents. It was operated for many years by John Charles, who left his name there. The mill was disassembled in 1919 and rebuilt in Lucas, where it operated until it burned in 1957.
When most people think of Charles Mill they picture a scenic lake on the east coast of Richland County, but the name originated from a site that was an actual mill once, grinding grain for farmers.
The grist mill, photographed here in 1901, was so busy in the 1800s that it spawned a small settlement around it. Charles Mill was powered by the Black Fork River, and stood just a half mile downstream of where Charles Mill Dam was built in1936.
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Timothy Brian McKee is a featured columnist on our site every Saturday with a column titled Native Son. Every Tuesday, he taps into his knowledge and collection of historical photos and bring us Then & Now, a brief glance at the way things were.