The Installation of Historical Signage the Final Stage of the Millbrook Dam Rehabilitation Project

Photo supplied:
Celia Hunter, President of the Millbrook Cavan Historical Society, examines the interpretive signs at Needler’s Mill. The organization conducted research and provided content for the project, and the signage completes the project which a few years ago, seemed next to impossible.
In 2015, the mill was owned by the Otonabee Conservation Authority and the historic structure was deemed unsafe and headed for demolition. Celia spearheaded a successful campaign to acquire the building on behalf of the historical society, which required among other things, raising $90,000 to relocate the building to accommodate the dam rehabilitation project and complete repairs to preserve the landmark. Thanks to generous community support and tireless volunteer efforts, the mill stands today in tribute to the residents past and present.

A formal presentation of the Interpretive signage installed beside the Needler’s Mill and adjacent to the Millbrook Dam took place on October 22nd. This installation is the final touch to the Millbrook Dam rehabilitation that was completed in 2019.

The Millbrook and Cavan Historical Society contributed to the creation of this project by providing content and photos highlighting the history of the Millbrook Dam, the mills in the Cavan and Millbrook area including Needler’s Mill, and the vital role mills have played in the development of the area.

The historical photos of Baxter Creek and the millpond illustrate the longstanding importance of the pond to the Millbrook community as a gathering place to enjoy wildlife and recreational activities.  The historical photos are from the Historical Society’s archives and were provided courtesy of the Peterborough Museum and Archives, while the wildlife photography is the work of Millbrook resident Kirk Hillsley.

The Friends of Hope Mill volunteers designed and built the wooden kiosk structure with local wood sawn and planed at their water-powered mill on the shores of the Indian River, adding a wonderful connection to the historical significance of mills; both Needler’s and Hope Mills were converted to saw mills in the mid-1900s. The kiosk is a work of craftmanship, and many volunteer hours were contributed to its creation.

Otonabee Conservation expressed its appreciation for the generous contributions from the community to develop, build, and install the educational signage at Needler’s Mill which enhance the appreciation of the millpond, dam, trails, and mill by residents and visitors to the area. KG

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