Colon Landmark Is Being Razed
August 1941: “The old time waterpower mills which were so closely associated with community life in the pioneer days, are gradually passing out, and only a few of the scores of mills which once stood are left for operating purposes. A few of these mills may be found is southwestern Michigan, but generally checkup reveals that these mills are operated on a much different schedule than in the old days when “flap-jacks” were made from pure buckwheat flour, and the batter known as “starter” was distributed among the neighbors and kept on hand from day to day as long as the weather would permit. Compounds today on the market enable the housewife to prepare flap-jacks in a few minutes and buckwheat is grown on a lesser scale each year. In the village of Colon, besides a river and several beautiful lakes, there is an old mill to which the village owns its beginning. Standing between a quiet mill stream and Swan creek, just on the edge of the business district, this three story structure has been a picturesque landmark in the village for over a hundred years. In the year 1830, Loransi Schelhous, looking for a water power site, found the one here, went to Ohio and manufactured mill irons, and returned to Colon in the spring and damned Swan creek, hauled planks from Brunson and built a saw mill. Two years later, he began cutting lumber. This property was then sold to a Dr. Isaac Vooorhies in 1836. he built the mill which stands today. William Eck came from Three Rivers, dressed the millstones and ground the first grist. The mill, operating on three “run” of stones became busier each year, and in 1875, a fourth “run” of stones was added. In 1877, the Lamberson family became associated with the mill and in the year 1914, Frank D. Lamberson, who had been with the plant since 1888, became the sole owner and continued to operate under the firm name his father had used, C. A. Lamberson & Son. He successfully operated the mill manufactured wheat and buckwheat flour and ground grist until the undermined flume was washed out in 1934. Operations were then discontinued and Mr. Lamberson retired to enjoy his home where he and Mrs., Lamberson and two sons had lived for several years across from the mill, just between the damn and the mill race. Eli Dane who was in the employ of Mr. Lamberson for many years, died about six months ago. The building has had exceptional care throughout the years and one would hesitate to believe its age,. Built of heavy timbers, some of them from one foot to 16 inches square, and of great length and weight, it took scores of men to raise them into position while workers high in the air fitted the mortised ends and drove the pins which fastened them. The roof rests on a series wooden beams which are heavy and are so rigidly interlocked that there are no signs of sagging despite the 102 years the frame has stood. The elevator is fitted with what is known as a “Dutch” door, something seldom seen in this art of the country. This is a large specially made door, cut horizontally in half and hung so that the lower portion may be kept closed. The reason for such a door was to keep out domestic animals and fowls which were allowed to run loosed in those days. The latch is made to resemble a long iron bar. A conspicuous and interesting feature on the front of the building is a triangular projection, conforming to lines of the gable, under which was the pulley for lifting bags of grain from wagons to the bins on the upper floors. It bears the date of the completion of the building … 1839. Colon residents, both young and old are going to miss this landmark as the building has been sold and the process of tearing it down has already been started. The machinery was sold and disposed of several months ago. Mr. Lamberson has made no announcement as to what will be done with the land site, but after it is cleaned up, there will be some beautiful scenery for the village as Swan creek and the mill stream are surrounded by beautiful weeping willow trees.” Your local historical society has the peak with the date attached. All that remains except for photos.