Caledonia Mill, ca1892 with 'L' shaped expansion                  Caledonia Mill, 1919 with east annex & cupola

The Mill

Layout and Design

The overall form of the mill reflects cumulative changes that have occurred over its life which is to be expected in an industrial building responding to market forces.  As it stands today, the form of the mill is composed of three parts, the original mill (or mill ‘proper’), the ‘L’-shaped expansion, and an annex.  It is a sizable mill, at nearly 15,000 square feet, or about the cumulative size of 7 contemporary houses.

The original mill constructed in the mid-1850s, remains largely intact, positioned in the north-west corner of the present footprint of the mill.  It is a 3-1/2 story, rectangular-shaped structure (excluding basement) approximately 40’ x 50’, with a gabled roof oriented in the north-south direction along the shorter dimension of the mill.  Its construction is post and beam heavy timber erected on a rubble stone masonry basement, and built with Eastern white pine which was available locally at the time.  A 1 ½ storey ‘L’ shaped expansion with shed roof, was probably added within a year or two of the construction of the mill proper, along with the front loading dock.  A small 1 ½ storey annex was added about the turn of the century, in all likelihood to provide additional space for shipping functions.  A distinctive cupola—a feature rarely seen in mill architecture—was also added to the roof around the same period (1892-1919), presumably to add more light and ventilation to the upper attic floor.

The exterior cladding throughout is horizontal rough boarding and finished with a milled tongue and groove or shiplap siding.  Most original windows were double hung with divided lites.  Throughout floors are finished with one layer of heavy planking and interior walls are lined with horizontal close boarding surfaced on one face; walls are uninsulated. The interior wooden timber frame posts are 1’-0” square topped with a short capital.  Posts are artistically shaped with gentle tapering at the base and capitals, and the edges of columns are chamfered throughout the shaft. Much of original equipment still exists along with milling components that are integral with the mill structure.

For drawings of the mill see: Full Set of Drawings: Plans, Elevations, Sections


Current exterior and interior of Caledonia Mill (photos: C. Fleming)                     

Components and Equipment

Milling components and machinery are found on all floors throughout the mill’s interior.  This includes power generating and transmission equipment such as turbines and turbine grate controls, lines shafts with pulleys, and counter-shafting components.  Much of the bucket elevator system still exists, along with chutes, chute directors, augers, holding bins and hoppers, which point to the movement and storage of flour and grain in the mill.  Finally, production machinery used in processing grain into flour is also found, and includes separators, roller mills, scourers, bolt machines and a dust collecting system.

The Caledonia Mill contains many components and equipment pieces that are particularly noteworthy. Existing machinery was patented and/or originated (manufactured) from suppliers in Canada, but also from the US and possibly England as well.

  • turbines produced by Charles Barber & Sons of Meaford, Ontario. 
  • several bolt machines and the dust collecting system supplied by R. Whitelaw, from Oxford Foundry in Woodstock, Ontario
  • a centrifugal bolt machine patented and supplied by G. T. Smith Middlings Purifier Company, Stratford, Ontario
  • roller mills supplied by Wm. and J.G. Greey Mill Furnishing Firm of Toronto
  • wheat polisher patented and supplied Beall Improvements Company of Decatur, Illinois
  • reel bolt tightener, manufactured by Chisholm Bros. of Illinois
  • purifier supplied by J. Thompson of Leeds England

Other distinctive milling components which bear mentioning include cooper made circular wood stave hoppers with hooped reinforcement, which extend in height for three stories; some still retain the original bagging chambers attached to the hoppers on the 1st floor.  There are also no fewer than ten timber holding bins with hopper bottoms, and some cribbed feed bins constructed of 2 x 4 rough cut planks laid flat and spiked together.

Bucket elevator system (photo: C. Fleming)                 Bolting machine, purifier/separator (photo: L. Adams)

See the following table that matches the stages of milling with existing equipment in the mill:
Table 8

For a complete inventory of mill components and equipment see: Mill inventory