|City/Town: • Cedar Point|
|Location Class: • Industrial|
|Built: • 1875 | Abandoned: • 1970s|
|Status: • Under Renovation|
|Photojournalist: • Emily Cowan|
Drinkwater & Schriver Flour Mill 1875-1923
Cedar Point was established with the help of a man from Pennsylvanian named Orlo Henry Drinkwater. Settling in the Cottonwood Valley, he built his homestead along a small stream and called it Cedar Creek. He established the post office and that was the birth of the town of Cedar Point. He went into business with J.P. Crawford, working together to build a log dam across the Cottonwood River. It was here that they built a wooden frame sawmill in 1867, this was the first mill along the Cottonwood River. Settlers would oftentimes arrive at the mill by ox and wagon to receive their grist. In 1870 the partnership was mutually dissolved and J.P. Crawford withdrew himself from the business.
With the old contract being dissolved the business was carried on by Drinkwater, a new contract was signed between him and Peter Paul Schriver on September 14, 1870. It was that same year that the wood-frame mill was destroyed by a flood. In a huge business move, the two decided a new building was needed. Construction started in 1871 on the three-and-a-half-story native limestone building. “P. Hoover, a young man drawing stone for the Drinkwater & Schriver’s new mill at Cedar Point hauled a load weighing 8,300 pounds with three yokes of Texas cattle.” Finally complete in 1875, they wasted no time getting right to work. The Cedar Point Flour Mill operation was in full swing, eastern cities were where a majority of their shipments ended up. Pittsburg, St. Louis, Chicago, and New York being huge receivers of the exports. Using stone burrs to grind corn and wheat into flour, the mill had a capacity of around seventy-five barrels per day. The log damn located north of the mill was rebuilt of stone south of the mill in 1884.
Orlo Drinkwater sold his interest in the mill to M. Gulliford who didn’t hold onto it for long and in 1892 Peter P. Schriver became the sole owner of the mill and the business thrived under his control. In 1903 Peter P. Schriver put his mill through a series of renovations including a new roof, a wooden frame addition to the front of the building for grain storage. With the new addition, the mill had a higher capacity output, getting a huge order from Ireland that year shipping a few thousand sacks. The flour was ground up by steel rollers powered by hydroelectricity from the waterwheel and Cottonwood River. The turbine powered the shaft and pulley system that ran from the mill’s basement to the third floor, using leather belts connected to the pulleys on shafts.
Arnold Brunner Mill 1923-1941
Peter P. Schriver met an unfortunate death after being hit by a passenger train in 1907. The Cedar Point Mill was passed onto his son, Paul D. Schriver, who took over the operation of the mill. Over the next sixteen years, the mill was operated in intervals by his son and widow. They then made the hard decision to sell the mill that had been in the Schriver name for over fifty years. Ownership was handed over to Arnold Brunner who purchased the 1875 mill. It continued to be run as a flour and grain mill, it was one of very few businesses that stayed afloat during the Great Depression. He was Cedar Points’ last flour miller.
Ray Crofoot Feed Mill 1941-1970s
Ray Crofoot became the next owner in the lineage after Arnold Brunner. Ray F. Crofoot was a cattleman and saw a business opportunity at hand to help cut costs for his livelihood. He converted the flour mill into a place to grind feed for his cattle feed yards. After World War II, the hydroelectric mill was converted to electric power. He continued running his feed mill for cattle operations until the late 1970s. After that, it was sold to A.L. Pinkston, a longtime miller in the Chase County area. He owned it until the eighties.
Dr. Bruce McMullen 1988-2015
In the growing list of different owners, another was added in 1988, Dr. Bruce McMullen. Under his ownership not much was done, the mill was no longer functioning and it sat vacant. Attempts were made to find a suitable use for the mill and a feasible way of restoring it. Even having the School of Interior Architecture of Kansas State University study the mill. Professor James H. Dubois had nineteen of his students contribute to a fifth-year design studio by presenting redevelopment proposals for the mill, which were presented in the Spring of 2000. Despite these efforts, nothing concrete happened to save the mill. The condition of the building further deteriorated over the next decade with large cracks in the stones presenting themselves. Part of the foundation had failed to cause a portion of the west wall to fall. Flooding and drying were reoccurring issues that had caused the wooden posts and beams supporting the interior structure to rot as well as the floors to sink more than a foot in. A large tree fell into one of the dormers destroying it and leaving a gaping hole in the roof, which has caused moisture to come in and rot a portion of the second floor.
In 2007 the historic, almost a century and a half old mill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Since then there has been community outcry to have this piece of history restored back to its former glory. Restoration efforts started in 2015 with the first order of business being removing the metal-clad, wooden granary addition from the front portion of the building. This was achieved by developer Dan Clothier who formed Drinkwater & Schriver Mill Inc., a Non-Profit Organization, to aid in purchasing the mill from Dr. McMullen and find additional help to fund the restoration of the mill.
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“Cedar Point Mill and Dam, Cedar Point, Kansas.” Kansas Memory, www.kansasmemory.org/item/215448/page/1.
“CP Mill | History.” CP Mill |, www.cedarpointmill.com/history/.
NPGallery Search, npgallery.nps.gov/GetAsset/5dd34cbd-1f95-493d-ab36-67e712db5948.
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