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Beck's Mill To Mark 206th Anniversary
Updated August 7, 2014 6:54 AM | Filed under: Event
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(SALEM) - Beck's Mill will celebrate their 206th anniversary on August 23.

Festivities will kick off at 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Admission is $2.06 for adults and children under 16 will be admitted free.

Corydon Dulcimer Society will provide entertainment and those that attended can learn and practice throwing tomahawks..

Beck's Mill is a historic gristmill in Washington County, located seven miles southwest of Salem. It was built in 1864, one year after John Hunt Morgan demanded for ransom for every Washington County mill to be spared from burning. The mill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. It was on the list of the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana's 10 Most Endangered historic places.

Although the present-day mill is only 150 years old, the celebration will take visitors back to 1808, when George Beck Sr. built the original mill.

Friends of Beck's Mill, a nonprofit organization, was given the 14 acres and building by Donald & Joyce Andersen (Joyce being a direct descendant of the George Beck family). This gift was the results of the efforts and negotiation of Jack Mahuron of Salem, with the hope that the mill could be saved, and maybe even become operational as the centerpiece of a local park.

According to Wikipedia, Mahuron had worked on getting the restoration started for several years. In June 2006, a member of the Friends, won a $1,000 door prize from the Washington County Community Foundation, an annual giveaway for use of community projects, and chose to use the $1,000 to start an Endowment (Acorn Fund) for the mill. The fund created a permanent endowment to market and operate the mill.

John Hawkins, an architect from Jeffersonville, Indiana, calculated that $600,000 would be required to restore the mill, with additional funds needed to reopen it. Donald and Joyce Andersen has since offered the use of approximately over 70 acres (280,000 m2) for use as trails and recreation. 3 acres across the road from the mill are used for parking at no cost to the Friends of Beck's Mill. William and Gayle Cook, billionaire philanthropists, made a large donation of approximately $1,200,000.00 in 2007 to begin the restoration process.

Jack Mahuron had served on the Board of Advisers of IU Southeast with Bill Cook and knew that he and Gayle were interested in Beck's Mill. They had visited it several times over the years. Jack contacted him at Bloomington asking him to assist with the restoration. He graciously declined because he was busy with the restoration of French Lick and West Baden Hotels.

A few months later, however, on March 1, 2007, he sent his Architect George Ridgway and his contractor Joe Pritchett of Pritchett Brothers, to a meeting of the Friends, it was announced that billionaire Bill and Gayle Cook would fund the restoration if the Friends would accept the offer.[4]

Restoration of the mill began in earnest in May 2007 with Tracy Wells as foreman of the project for Pritchett Brothers.

The first task was to remove the old equipment, tools, and the remaining features of the general store and fabric-making, including two carding machines. The old turbines were cleaned, and the stone foundation was repaired by lifting the mill from its moorings. In September 2007 the outside work was stopped for the year. The mill workings, currently held in storage at Salem, were re-installed in the spring 2008. A grand opening of the mill is planned for the fall of 2008, in time for the 200th anniversary of the first Beck's Mill

For information about the birthday celebration is available by calling (812) 883-5147 or visiting www.becksmill.org.



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