The Old Stone Mill in Delta, built in 1810-11 by William Jones and Ira Schofield, is the earliest surviving example of a fully automatic gristmill in Ontario. In 1817 the mill was described as "unquestionably the best building of the kind in Upper Canada". It was built, using local stone and timber, following the designs created by American inventor Oliver Evans. It has few unique features such as acting as its own dam. The beauty of the exterior stonework and interior woodwork speaks to the skill of the millwright who designed and built it.
In 1963 the last owner of the Mill, Hastings Steele, deeded the Old Stone Mill to a group of four people in trust, for the sum of one dollar. Mr. Steele's prime concern was that the Mill should be preserved and would in time become a museum of milling technology. These four people founded the Delta Mill Society later the same year and, in 1972, the Society was incorporated as a Non-profit Corporation in the Province of Ontario.
The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada declared the Old Stone Mill at Delta to be a National Historic Site in 1970 (see: historicplaces.ca). The Old Stone Mill is the only surviving pre-1812 stone grist mill in Ontario. In 1978 the Old Stone Mill was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.
Follow these links for a more detailed history of the mill:
Please note that these documents are set up for double sided printing, so you'll see a few blank pages in the PDFs because of that.
For a history synopsis of the mill you will want to purchase a copy of "A History of the Old Stone Mill, Delta, Ontario" by Professor Paul S. Fritz, 2000. This 36 page booklet is only $10.00 and is available from the Delta Mill Society.
For a more detailed history of grist milling and the mill, including how the Delta Mill actually worked, you will want to purchase a copy of "A History of Grist Milling in Delta" by Wade Ranford, 2006. This 131 page book is only $15.00 and is available from the Delta Mill Society
You can view or download the design manual for the mill, Oliver Evans' The Young Mill-Wright and Millers Guide:
A c.1905 photo (hand painted postcard) showing the Old Stone Mill, the Mill Drive Shed with upper brick hall, and part of the Jubilee block (background) in Delta. A couple of French burrstone millstones can be seen outside the mill (behind the gentleman to the left of the entrance door) - these weren't needed since the mill was operating using roller mills at this time. Operating French burrstones were restored to the mill in 2010.
photo by: Ken Watson
The old Town Hall is in the background left (red brick building), the Old Stone Mill is in the middle with the Mill Driveshed to the right.
The Delta Mill Society
Box 172, Delta, Ontario K0E 1G0
Tel: 613-928-2584 (office)