19th Century Grist Mill now serving as a feed mill
"Franklin Mill is located on the southeast corner of Franklin Road and Highway A in Franklin. It is situated on the Sheboygan River. The mill looks very much as it "did during the wheat era. The two and a half story frame structure in the center measures approximately 35' x 45' and is the original mill built in 1856. The two and a half story intersecting gable addition to the south was added in 1868 when business was booming, (l) The east side or face of the mill looks the same today as it did in the pioneer era. The west side, which faces the now dry raceway, has been metal sided. There is also an addition on the north side - a one-story entry addition. It is not known when this was added. The mill is constructed of 12" x 12" timbers with 12" x 13" joists of virgin pine. (2) When the south addition was built, in 1868, three run of stone were added to grind flour. (3) Turbines were installed in 1870 for the feed and flour mill operation (4-). It is not known if the earlier paddle wheel was inside or outside of the mill, but presumably it was outside, since no exterior remains. The mill turned to a roller mill operation and then a hammermill in subsequent years, which remains today. The water power ended in 1959. (5) Wooden shafts and shoots remain on the interior as well as the framing and walls of the original mill. There is, however, no other evidence of the grist milling days, since the mill has been adapted to a feed mill operation.
"Franklin Mill is significant because of its ability to survive all of the changes since its construction with its original integrity so much in tact. The original water rights were granted, and the dam built in 1851. (6) The turbines were not installed until 1870 so the mill must have had a paddlewheel originally. (7) It was described in 1889 as the best equipped mill in the county, (8)and remains a highly productive feed mill operation today. Once called "Lippers" Mill, the Franklin Mill was built by immigrants from the Lipper Detmold region of Germany and therefore is a remnant of the German settlement of Sheboygan County. (9) This mill is important as an example of immigrant know-how in establishing these early mills and as an example of how these mills were able to adapt and survive. Because it's integrity and setting remain so much in tact, it is one of the best examples of a typical commercial mill in Sheboygan County. Metal equipment on the north and east of the mill, associated with the current business, does not detract from the integrity of the property.
(1)Sheboygan press, April 29, 1927, p. 16
(2) Interview by Miriam Rowe with Calvin Boedecker, grandson of C.F. Arpke, April 25, 1983, at the mill
(3) Sheboygan Press, Op Cit
(4) Department of Natural Resources Railroad Commission, June, 1915, File #59
(5) Whyte, Bertha Kitchel, WISCONSIN HERITAGE, C.T. Branford Co., Boston, 1954., p. 49
(6) DNR Railroad Commission, Op Cit
(8) Whyte, Op Cit, p. 51
Taken from a document entitled INTENSIVE SURVEY FORM Historic Preservation Division by Miriam Rowe, dated August 15, 1983 and submitted to the NPS for inclusion on the NRHP.