Potter's Mill

Potter's Mill is a restaurant and bed and breakfast establishment located in Bellevue, Iowa. The structure was formerly a gristmill, being the oldest in the state of Iowa, and as such it has earned national recognition. Potter's Mill is on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as being named a point of interest in the Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area.

History

Elbridge Gerry Potter first came to the Bellevue area in 1843 from New Lebanon, Illinois. Potter had been searching for a place to located a flour mill, and came to decide on Bellevue for the location. Potter and local millwright John Gammel built a mill on what became known as Big Mill Creek. They used limestone from the nearby bluffs to build the mill and a nearby dam. Timber came from nearby areas. At first the mill was powered by an overshot waterwheel located along the southern side of the mill. The total cost to build the structure at the time was about $40,000.

By 1845 the mill was in operation. Potter had customers in many major central and eastern U.S. cities, and purchased the wheat from local farmers as well as farmers in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Potter later extended the dam in order to install six turbines that in turn operated six milling stones. Potter operated the mill until 1871, when he sold the mill to Kilborn and Company.

Kilborn and Company operated the mill for the next ten years. In 1881, they sold the mill to Arnold Reiling. The mill was damaged by a flash flood on May 24, 1896. In the aftermath the spillway was replaced by a 35 horsepower (26 kW) Atlas steam engine. Reiling and his family owned and operated the mill for the next 38 years before they decided to sell the property. Over the next few years, several different parties owned and operated the mill until purchased by the Dyas family in 1931. The Dyas family continued to operate the mill until 1969. Finally in 1969 the mill stopped producing flour.

The property was put up for sale at an auction in 1980. Daryll and Carolyn Eggers purchased the structure at this auction, and set about restoring the mill. They operate Potter's Mill as B&B/Event Center since that time. The Basement, First floor lounge area, and former dining room on second floor are used for Special Events. The third and fourth floors are the B&B area