Original Building: T.P. White's Woollen Mill
Whitevale Mills of the Past
Whitevale’s early success has been largely attributed to T.P. White and his construction of the many mills that once lined Duffin’s Creek. In 1855, Mr. White built the first of his mills; he erected a grist mill on the land across the road from the current mill. This grist mill was considered to be technically advanced for the times and cost $10,000. He followed in 1866 with a large planing mill. A year later, in 1867, Mr. White built a large brick woollen mill at a cost of $30,000 on the land that the current Whitevale mill occupies.
Although Mr. White built the mills, there were periods that he didn’t personally run them; instead he leased them and allowed others to operate them:
- Mr. Ellis ran the woollen mill for a number of years
- Spink brothers ran the flour mill from 1867 to 1874
- Besse brothers ran the sawmill
Whitevale Mills on Fire
Whitevale has been unlucky when it comes to fires and floods. All Mr. White’s mills eventually were destroyed by fire. In 1874, the planing mill was destroyed by fire. The woollen mill was also severely damaged by fire, but the brick walls remained standing. Finally, the flour mill which was then being operated by Mr. White was burned. The machinery from the flour mill was salvaged and used in the brick walls of the woollen mill. This however wasn’t the last time that Whitevale would experience a mill fire.
Present-Day Whitevale Mill
The old water-powered brick woollen mill (with the flour mill equipment installed inside) was purchased by mill operator T.L. Wilson in 1932. His four sons took over the family business in 1959 and expanded it to include grain drying, fertilizer, and bulk feed handling equipment.
The business came to a crashing halt however in 1961 when the brick mill was destroyed by a fire. The Wilson family quickly erected a new mill on the same site. The new electricity-powered mill had its official opening on March 23, 1962 and sold animal health products, pesticides and livestock, poultry and pet food.
The mill continued to run for many more decades under the ownership of T.L. Wilson & Sons, but unfortunately is no longer in business.
Presently, the mill is undergoing major renovations and is expected to function as a bed and breakfast as well as a burn victim recovery centre.