Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

4399 Pleasant Hill Road

National or State Register of Historic Places
4399 Pleasant Hill Road | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Messer-Mayer Mill
Reference Number:07000500
Location (Address):4399 Pleasant Hill Road
Messer-Mayer Mill
4399 Pleasant Hill Road, Richfield Township, Washington County
Architect: Unknown
Dates of construction of contributing resources: 1856-1923

The location of the Messer-Mayer Mill was determined by the water power it could derive from the Coney Creek, a tributary of the Oconomowoc River. Milling on the property began in 1856 with the construction of a sawmill. While the sawmill collapsed in 1951, the gristmill, a three story front gabled structure constructed between 1871 and 1873, stands today.

The gristmill contains all its original milling equipment, including the Edward P. Allis & Co. mill stones, its four roller mills patented 1897, numerous sifters, bolters, storage bins, and the belt elevators that delivered the wheat and flour to proper destinations in the milling process. After the miller emptied the farmer's wheat into the first floor hopper, all processes could be directed by the miller from his first floor controls.

Other original buildings on the property include the miller's six-bedroom home with attached summer kitchen, a gable roofed barn, a woodshed, and a smokehouse. The milldam has fallen into disrepair and today the millpond is overgrown with grass and trees. The foundation of both the sawmill and a pig barn can be identified, while the site of the old buggy shed is only a memory.

While the Messer family was the original owner and homesteader of the property, constructing both the sawmill and gristmill, the Mayer family purchased the property in 1874. It remained with members of the Mayer family in residence for nearly 100 years. Milling conducted at the site served neighbors for many miles around with sawn lumber, flour ground from the farmer's wheat, and cattle feed. Activity at the mill also gave rise to the nearby country crossroads of Pleasant Hill.

The former mill property is owned by the Town of Richfield and is operated by the Richfield Historical Society. Please consult the Society's website for hours of operation.

Period of Significance:1856-1954
Area of Significance:Architecture
Area of Significance:Industry
Applicable Criteria:Architecture/Engineering
Applicable Criteria:Event
Historic Use:Agriculture/Subsistence: Agricultural Outbuildings
Historic Use:Industry/Processing/Extraction: Manufacturing Facility
Historic Use:Agriculture/Subsistence: Animal Facility
Historic Use:Domestic: Single Dwelling
Architectural Style:Late Victorian
Resource Type:Building
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
National Register Listing Date:05/30/2007
State Register Listing Date:10/13/2006
Number of Contributing Buildings:7
Number of Contributing Sites:4
Number of Contributing Structures:2
Number of Contributing Objects:1
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:4
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:2
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:2
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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