Repairs begin on Friesen Mill in Hillsboro

MillWorkers with Miller Construction of Newton were taking down the blades and removing siding from the Jacob Friesen Flouring Mill in Hillsboro last Tuesday as part of a $22,000 project to repair the iconic structure located on the museum grounds. The mill, a precise replica of the one Jacob Friesen built in 1876 and used until around 1920 in the Mennonite settlement of Gnadenau southwest of town, was constructed by Richard Wall with help from Paul Friesen from 1992 to 1994. David Brown, a member of the Hillsboro Museum Advisory Board, said Wall designed the replica mill off a single surviving photograph of the original. Determined to be as authentic as possible, Wall and Friesen went so far as to cut down the types of trees that would been used on the original structure, cure them, then cut floor boards from them. Brown said problems with the mill began appearing in early 2012. ?We were aware of some leakage into the mill,? he said. Upon further inspection, the decision was made to replace some of the wood and have the exterior repainted by Koehn Painting of Newton. The hope, Brown said, is that the mill will be restored to working order by the time the project is completed later this summer. Most of the cost of the project will be covered with funds set aside by Friesen family members for maintaining the mill. The remainder of the expense will be covered by the city of Hillsboro.

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