Old Mill State Park


Old Mill, early 1900's

THE OLD MILL STATE PARK Situated in Foldahl Township on the bank of the Middle River, twelve miles east of Argyle, this site was always popular as a picnic and swimming area, Floyd B. Olson, speaking at a Historical Society picnic in 1934, suggested the place become a State Park, In 1937 it did, Earle A. Barker of Bemidji also was one of the first to suggest it become a State Park. It was first known as the Middle River State Park, but was changed in 1951 to the Old Mill State Park. The state bought the site in 1937 for $II,OOO; the federal government added $17,000 for construction of the buildings, and the W.P.A. spent another $11.107 for work in 1940. The project gave much needed jobs to many local people, and the benefits have been enjoyed ever since. Lars Larson built the original water power mill in 188n. He built the second water powered mill a half-mile up the river in 1889. John Larson, his son, built a mill at the same place using an old Case steam engine which was moved by oxen, In 1897, the location was changed to the present site, where the remaining ruins of the mill are still standing in a fair state of preservation.

The mill stones are two large native rocks, three feet in diameter and eight inches thick, each bound by heavy iron. One is stationary and the other revolves rapidly above it by means of a perpendicular shaft four inches thick. On the stones are hand carved grooves which allow space for grain that is being ground. A tube carries the grain down to the grinding stones. A sacking device is arranged below the stones to care for the ground grain as it comes from the plant.

When the plant was first constructed, a water wheel was built in the Middle River to furnish power. The mill was operated by that means for many years, and later when steam threshing engines became common, a steam boiler was procurred and used for power. Wood gathered from the nearby forest was the fuel.

Located on a picturesque site, the mill grounds in past years have been used as a picnic spot for large crowds of people.

Ernie Jewell and Albert Skoglund started putting the old Case steam engine together in 1957. Pieces of the engine were located, rebuilt, and refashioned after being out of use for 60 years. It is now in good running order and is being used to grind flour four or five times a year. Members of the Marshall County Historical Society, along with other volunteers, help run the operation under park supervision.

Oscar Bjorgaard was the first Park Superintendent from 1937 to 1942.


Argyles' Early Beginnings Streets and Sidewalks / Power, Gas, Telephone, Radio / Water, Sewer, Dump Early Fire Department / Middle River Township Panorama Photos of Early Argyle

Argyle Historical Museum Building Fund

The Argyle Historical Society is asking for your help in preserving the history of our community. We are starting a campaign to raise money for capital improvements for the Argyle Museum. We hope that you will be generous in helping us to achieve our goals.

....Argyle Historical Society


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