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It stands there on a knoll looking alone but yet imposing.

It has stories to tell, of people who dropped in to get their grains milled and to visi
t a bit. One thing that has not changed—it is still by the railroad tracks that were laid down by the Manitoba & North Western Railway in 1891.

How many freight trains went by there over the 120 years of the mill’s life? It withstood the rumble and the roar, the “shake, rattle and roll” and the humming of the steel rails as those long trains, one day burdened with heavy cargo, or the next day, rattling with the empty cars as the train disappeared in the sunrise or the sunset.

This mill should be totally “shook up” by now but it isn’t, it is strong yet and standing tall.

It makes a statement:  “I am here to stay!



- Therese LeFebvre Prince
  Heritage Researcher  /   City of Yorkton Archives  /  2017

 
Timeline
 
1882 York Colony established by the York Farmer's Colonization Company of Ontario.
1883 A stone mill is constructed by the York Colonization Company on original site.
1891 The town moves south to the railroad with the old mill being used until 1900.
1899
-1900
New flour mill built on Front Street (now Livingstone) by John J. Smith with bricks from Smith's own brick plant in Yorkton.  Wood crib elevator added by Smith.  Flour produced in the mill was sold throughout eastern Saskatchewan under the names of North Star, Silver King and Universal.   [ PHOTO ]
Circa 1901-
1904
The mill was sold to Levi Beck who marketed the flour under the name Northern Star Flour, and later, White Rose Flour.  The mill underwent a major overhaul in 1912.  Elevators in Yorkton & Otthon stored high grade wheat purchases for local flour production, while lesser grades were shipped away. 
1936 Ownership of the mill passes to a group of shareholders under the name of the York Milling Company (Clara Bell Gibson, Percy Tinker, Charles Peaker and a Calder, SK investor ).
1944 Keith Hallett, Charles Peaker and Tom Jepson bought out the other partners of the mill.
Late 40's  Sole owner became shareholder Keith Hallett; with his son Gordon, they operated the mill until it was sold in 1982. 
1947 Elevator replaced by the Halletts.
  Worthy of note is that in 1947, to celebrate the marriage of Princess Elizabeth and Phillip Mountbatten, the City of Yorkton shipped a railcar of flour milled from locally grown wheat to Great Britain to help alleviate post-war food shortages.
1973 Milling flour ceased due to lack of customers, Wheat Board regulations and the retirement of the miller.
...  
1996 Hubert Lacoste purchased the mill to begin organic milling; however due to Wheat Board regulations, the milling business never came to fruition. 
1997 Designated as a Municipal Heritage Property on May 12th under the name of Yorkton Organic Milling Ltd.
1997 Yorkton Flour Mill designated as a Heritage Property by City of Yorkton
2003 Save the Mill group made a presentation to the WDM Thresherman's event. The committee was unable to do anything because it was still privately owned. In Dec. 2003 the Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee started the discussion of to preserve the property. 
? Mill was sold again to an out-of-town investor.
2009 The City of Yorkton takes ownership for back taxes.
2010 October 29:  Adjacent attached buildings, including the elevator, annex and office building, were demolished.  Here are a few photos.
2011 Spring:  The brick structure itself received basic outside maintenance, and a small park was erected on the site.
  November: Council issued a letter of support as the landowner to the J.J. Smith Mill Committee to conduct research and organize fundraising.
  December: Historic Resources Division of PCR Services requested to review CA Reed report and make recommendations for re-development of mill.
2012 January:  PCR met with Yorkton Brick Mill Heritage Society to review the scope of their study.
  Jan - Feb:  PCR corresponded with CA Reed for clarification of their report with further dicussion with CAP Masony (Sask's only Heritage Stonemasonry Company) and Graom Masonry (industry leading provider - recent restoration of the Bell Farm at Indian Head, Sask's oldest stone agricultural building). Consulting Report costs $20,591.00
  April:  J.C. Kenyon Engineering (structural engineer for conservation of historic buildings) was invited to review with a site inspection April 23, 2012
  June:  The Mill Committee received a matching grant of $20,000.00 from the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation.  The committee then contracted the services of Murray Miller, a heritage architect and Historic Preservation Planner with PCR Services Corporation who has worked on various projects for the Province’s Heritage Resources Branch and for the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation.  After assessing viable options for the building's preservation and possible future uses, a comprehensive report of a three phase restoration plan was presented.
  September:  City Council agreed to preserve the mill for at least one more year.
2013 Yorkton Brick Mill raises $9647.00.
  Mill Committee expenses Engineering for roof design  ($2929.00)
2014 Mill Committee raises $47,498 through grants (Sask Heritage $15,000; Painted Hand Casino $18,773; Monsanto $2,500) and individual donations of $11,225.00 as well as memberships.
  Spring:  Logan Stevens Construction of Yorkton completed the installation of a new roof on the mill which, along with new windows, has isolated the interior of the structure from the elements.     [ gallery ]
2015 Mill Committee raises $15,710 from donations
2016 April:  Reports to council
  May:  Committee presents 'plan of action' to Council.
2017 July:  Fundraising BBQ hosted with Yorkton Coop      [ gallery ]
  September:  Canada 150 Heritage Fundraising Dinner   [ gallery ]
  October:  Donation signage placed on site, west door covered and graffiti removed from east wall
  October:  Christmas lights installed around the top of the mill by Yorkton Fire Department  [ gallery ]
  November: RH Electric installs electrical panel.
2018 April 26th:  A new Brick Mill Sponsorship Sign built and installed by the City Public Works.
     
(thanks to Ward Brown who produced the sign, and Vern and Glenn for installation assistance)     [ gallery ]
   

 
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