Historical Society hears of Maitland Mills project - April 25, 2019
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
The goal of restoring two local mills to their former glory continues to pick up steam after a presentation last week at the Brussels Four Winds Barn.
David Blaney, president of the Maitland Mills Association, spoke to the Huron County Historical Society on April 17, detailing the history of the mills and the initiative to restore them.
The society held its regular meeting at the Brussels Four Winds Barn, dealing with its monthly business before Blaney’s presentation, which began with a promotional video produced by Dr. Chris Cooper, who has worked with the Municipality of Huron East on a number of projects.
Blaney told of the history of the mills and their creation.
In Gorrie, what’s known as the Maguire Mill was first built by the Leach brothers, who made their way to the area via Ireland.
The mill is known as the Maguire Mill because the Maguire family was the last owner of the mill before it closed. However, he told the dozens in attendance, there was a history of previous owners before Maguire took control.
In Gorrie, he said, eight Leach brothers came to the area in the 1800s and built the mill. They were also responsible for the mill in Bluevale.
In Gorrie, the mill became a meeting place for the community, hosting Methodist church services, among other events.
In Brussels, Logan’s Mill is, again, named after the mill’s last owner. It was built by the Vanstone brothers.
The mill would eventually have to be built a second time after the first one burned down, Blaney said, pointing to Brussels’ storied history of “burning everything down regularly”. The first mill burned down in 1871 and was rebuilt soon after. It would eventually be owned by several dozen families before it closed.
Paul Nichol, another member of the Maitland Mills Association, also addressed those in attendance at the meeting, saying that the project has been in the works, in one form or another, for over 15 years.
Nichol, who is the general manager of Community Futures Huron, said that from his perspective, he had always viewed the project as an economic driver for the community and a tourism draw.
Blaney said the project will need plenty of help in the coming years, however, due to the high cost to restore the mills, there is no firm timeline on the project.