Mills of Genesee Valley

Dublin Core



Before the commercial extraction of fossil fuels from the Oil Creek region of northern Pennsylvania, most mechanical work in the Genesee Valley was done by human and animal power, or some source ultimately derived from the sun: burning wood, wind power, or flowing water. The exception to this, of course, was coal--by the 1880s America's dominant source of energy.

Due to the Genesee region's ample supply of wood and running water, along with the cost of shipping coal, it's quite common to find instances of various water mills in the area's history. They were adapted to a wide range of uses: cutting wood into timber and milling it into specialized shapes (lumber mill); grinding corn into animal feed or for distilling alcohol (grist mill); grinding wheat or other grains (flour mill); creating boxes and other products from wood pulp (paper mill); fabricating metals (triphammer mill); powering industrial equipment (textile mill); and by the 1880s creating electricity via turbines.

This collection gathers various documents concerning mills in the Genesee Valley. In addition to images and written texts, there is also an interactive map illustrating the density of their usage during the mid-nineteenth century.

Collection Items

The Miller's Will

GIS Map of Dansville-Area Mills
This GIS map was created to support the Dansville Ever-Green map, itself an experiment to recover historical knowledge for the purposes of envisioning a bioregional economy & culture. Its premise is to draw a 50-mile radius around the town of…

Silver Lake Mills

The Upper Falls of the Genesee at Rochester NY from the East

Light's Mill, Avon NY

Old Water Wheel, Lakeville NY

Genesee Falls, Belmont NY

Oldest Bridge on the Genesee River, Geneseo NY

Lower Falls of the Genesee, Rochester NY
Five miles downstream from here, the Genesee River empties into Lake Ontario at Charlotte, and the base of the falls has been a major spawning ground for salmon and lake trout until non-native fish like the alewife reduced their numbers. The…

Upper Falls, Genesee River, Rochester NY
View all 26 items