Wolf Creek/Pine Run Gristmill

The Wolf Creek/Pine Run Gristmill is located at 3116 State Route 3 in Loudonville, just south of the main entrance to Mohican State Park.

LOUDONVILLE – The Wolf Creek/Pine Run Grist Mill is nestled at the edge of the forest, its impressive structure standing tall against the pale, partially frozen waters of Pine Run.

The historic structure fits in so perfectly with its surroundings, it’s hard to believe it’s not sitting in its original location.

Located south of Loudonville along State Route 3, the mill serves as a living museum, filled with artifacts from the area’s pre-industrial past. 

The mill was first built in 1831 on the homestead of Isaac Wolf. The water powered mill sat near nine different springs and operated until the great flood of 1913.

The mill was finally restored in 1925 and briefly served as a resort before closing for good. After decades of deterioration, Ed Pennell purchased the mill in 1971.

He disassembled the structure piece by piece and moved it to its current site south of Loudonville along Route 3. Renamed Pine Run Mill, it reopened as a tourist attraction and ice cream parlor in 1975.

After Pennell passed away in the mid-1980s, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources purchased the property. It languished due to budget cuts and was eventually slated for demolition.

Around 2000, volunteers formed the Friends of Wolf Creek/Pine Run Grist Mill as a grassroots effort to fundraise and restore the mill.

“It had been neglected for years, no windows or doors, leaking roof, unsafe floors and a walk bridge that could barely support itself,” said Mark Smith, founder and president, on the organization’s website. “Being a historic restoration contractor my whole life, I felt there had to be a way to save this wonderful building.”

Today, the Friends of Wolf Creek/Pine Run Grist Mill operate it as a museum during the summer months. It’s open on weekends from noon to 5 p.m. whenever volunteers are available.

A restored historic cabin is also located on the property and serves as a welcome center.

Seven historic log buildings meant to represent a historic homestead are undergoing restoration.

The website for the Friends of Wolf Creek/Pine Run Grist Mill, which raises funds and oversees maintenance of the mill and other structures, says there are plans to “complete a historic village on the property, in order to preserve a vanishing part of our heritage for future generations to enjoy and learn from.”

The Friends group leases the property from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. While many locals think of the mill as a separate entity, it’s actually part of Mohican State Park.

“There’s a lot of plans for this place. We want to keep upgrading,” said Kyle Casey, a naturalist at Mohican State Park. “There’s been a lot of desire in the community to get this place open again.”

The Mill will be open every Saturday in January, February and March from 1 to 3 p.m. this year, with an ODNR naturalist onsite to answer questions about the history and nature surrounding the mill.

Casey hopes the expanded hours will garner more community interest and support for restoration and maintenance.

“If we don't preserve this stuff, no one will know anything about it. It'll be gone to history,” he said. “You’ve got people’s whole lives, you’ve got generations of people that would have been born in this area, worked at the mill, built the mill and died here.

"It was a whole way of doing things that doesn’t exist anymore.”

In the future, Casey said he’d like to see more pioneer village events (similar to American Heritage Days in Mansfield) held at the site.

Typically, the mill is only open for a few events each year, plus weekends in the summer. But Casey says it may one day be open year-round for self-guided tours.

“The goal is that we can just open this in the morning, close it in the evening and have it be a self walkthrough,” he said.

Support Our Journalism

Our reporting empowers people to individually and collectively achieve progress in our region. Help make free, local, independent journalism sustainable by becoming a member.