City Quotient: What's the Story Behind the Mill on King Avenue?
What is the history and current use of the mill building on King Avenue, just west of Olentangy River Road? The wall of one building says "Mill 780."
That's the old Weisheimer Mill, and 780 is its street address on King Avenue. It dates from 1901 and is a great example of a classic multi-story grist mill (grist is any grain that's ground to make flour), but its brick construction makes it a little unusual.
Jacob Weisheimer (1833-1913) was one of many German entrepreneurs in Columbus history. German immigrants lived all over town, not just in the old South End that became German Village, and were known for their good business sense and hard work. Weisheimer came to town in 1865 and built a water-powered grist mill along the Olentangy River at the end of Weisheimer Road. But he didn't spend all of his time at the mill: He had 18 children from two marriages. In the 1890s he built a large home on Weisheimer Road.
Three of his sons built this second mill in 1901; it was located away from the river, so it probably was steam-and later electrically-powered. It was situated right next to the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway tracks that ran between Toledo and the East Coast, to ensure reliable transportation for flour and grain. The first mill was gone by 1938, and the second ran until 1957. Today, the building houses artists' studios and small business offices, and the Weisheimer name is still visible on the west side of the mill.
Jeff Darbee is a preservationist, historian and author in Columbus. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the answer might appear in a future column.