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Goodrich Grist Mill

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1808. Mill Rd., east bank of Mill Brook, Wells village
  • (Thomas Evans)

In Vermont, the first commercial structure built during late-eighteenth-century settlement was usually a gristmill, which was considered such a community necessity that town proprietors frequently commissioned them. Often the victims of floods, no known eighteenth-century mills survive, but this two-and-a-half-story, gabled, wood-frame one was built by Roswell Goodrich in 1808, making it the state's oldest extant gristmill, and probably the oldest extant mill of any sort in Vermont. The brook is dammed about three feet and diverted into the wheelrace where a covered, undershot waterwheel provides power for the millstones. The small multi-paned windows provide an exterior clue to its early date, but the massive, early post-and-beam frame within confirms that this is Roswell's mill. He sold it to Abel Parker likely after the freshet of 1811 washed out the dam and wheelrace. Roswell moved west, but his son Halsey stayed in Vermont and purchased the gristmill in 1833, remaining here as a miller until his death in 1857. His widow, Julia, ran the mill with her sons Irving and Orville through the 1880s, adding a two-story grain hoist elevator and office at the southeast corner of the mill. Orville took possession by 1890 and operated it until its closure and his retirement around 1915. By then most farmers stopped raising their own grains and began purchasing flour and feed.

Writing Credits

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson


What's Nearby


Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "Goodrich Grist Mill", [Wells, Vermont], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Vermont

Buildings of Vermont, Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 97-97.

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