YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – One of the most unique treasures in Mill Creek Park is the historical Lanterman’s Mill.
It holds a very special distinction in the state of Ohio, is a source of natural beauty and is a draw for natives and visitors alike.
One family that appreciates Lanterman’s Mill is the Alessi family. After 13 states, 12 countries and 21 years of military service, they still call Youngstown their home.
“Our vacations would be back here in Youngstown in the military. We would always come to the park,” Joe Alessi said.
Joe Alessi and his son Joe recently were at Lanterman’s Mill taking the younger Joe’s senior pictures.
“It’s a historical place. It’s been here forever. And it’s just a nice place to chill and relax,” the younger Joe said.
The manager of Lanterman’s Mill said he is always surprised at how many people from the Valley don’t even know this 170-year-old mill exists.
“We get people that come down here every day and say ‘we didn’t even know it was here.’ And they grew up in Boardman,” manager Greg O’Neal said.
It’s one of only two working mills in the state. And it’s the only one with a regular production schedule.
“This is a working gristmill. We actually use this mill the way it was used in 1846 when it opened. It is still water powered,” O’Neal said.
Lanterman’s churns out whole wheat flour, buckwheat flour and cornmeal. It is sold locally at the mill and at White House Fruit Farm in Canfield. It also is shipped all over the country.
Right now, the wheel is down.
“Everything is a challenge in a building this old. Our water wheel is starting to get old,” O’Neal said.
Park officials expect to make temporary repairs this time, but a six-figure overhaul is needed soon.
“It’s basically on borrowed time,” O’Neal said.
A group called Friends of the Mill put together a cookbook to help raise money for a new wheel. It can be bought at Lanterman’s Mill.
The overhaul is a cause Alessi hopes people around here will support.
“This area and this park adds so much value to the city,” Alessi said.
The current mill is actually the third mill to stand there.
The first was built by surveyors for Youngstown’s founder, John Young, back in 1799. It lasted until 1823 when a second mill was built.
That one was washed away in a flood in 1840, but its millstone still sits in the creek. The present-day Lanterman’s Mill was finished in 1846.