Jackson’s Road Trip 2017

Jackson’s Blog

Wapsipinicon Mill Museum

INDEPENDENCE — Last July, I visited the Wapsipinicon Mill in Independence, Iowa, with my dad. It was a short drive from our home in Waterloo. The day we visited was sunny and warm, but too hot.

One of the best things about the Wapsipinicon Mill is that visitors can learn how much work people in the past had to put into just making cornmeal every day.

Visitors learn this by trying to grind the corn in the same ways they did in the past.

I tried three ways.

The oldest way was using a small stone to bash the corn in the bowl of a carved out boulder. It was very hard because we had to break up large pieces of hard corn into little pieces of cornmeal. You have to smash the corn in a pile, but not too hard or else the corn flies out of the boulder.

Another way was using a red metal crank that turned around and around to crush the corn with metal teeth. People had very hard work to do in those days. Turning that crank made my biceps throb. The day I visited was a little warm, so turning the crank was hard exercise.

The third way I tried was by turning a small millstone. It crushed the corn between two heavy stones. It was hard because the millstone was very heavy, so it turned very slow.

After my dad and I ground the corn into cornmeal, we put it in special shakers that let only the smallest pieces through. The cornmeal was softer than feathers after it was shaken through the screens.

I think people in the past would have been relieved and grateful for a mill run by power from the river. It saved them a lot of work.

Everyone who wants to know more about how hard people worked in the past should visit the Wapsipinicon Mill!

To learn more about the Wapsipinicon Mill Museum  or to plan your road trip, visit www.buchanancountyhistory.com. To read more about Jackson’s road trip and to meet our other bloggers, click HERE!