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Parker Mill Park, Ann Arbor

5.0
#6 of 7 in Outdoors in Ann Arbor
The Parker Mill, also known as Parker Mill Park or Parker Mill Complex, is a mill located at 4650 Geddes Road, east of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The mill is a well-preserved example of a small-scale grist mill operation that was once common in Michigan. The mill and nearby Parker House (located at 4540 Geddes Road) were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
On this site in 1824, Robert Fleming built a sawmill, located on a rise above the creek which now bears his name. The mill, known as the "Fleming Sawmill," was eventually abandoned and fell into disrepair. In 1863, English immigrant William Q. Parker and his wife Mary purchased the site and 61 acres of the surrounding farmland. In 1873, Parker built the current grist mill on the site of the previous sawmill, which had "long since gone to ruin." At around the same time built a cabin for mill workers to stay in. In 1887, he constructed the nearby cider mill. The Parkers initially ground flour for their own use and that of their neighbors. They also pressed their own cider, but an apple blight in the early 1900s caused the use of the cider mill to be discontinued after 1914.
In 1910, William Parker died, and his son George took over operation of the mill. George began selling products to the local markets in Ann Arbor under the brand "Flemings Creek Mills," and soon the mill became well-known locally for its pancake mix, whole wheat flour, and buckwheat flour. In the 1920s, Geddes Road was widened and paved, and the Parkers raised the foundation of the grist mill. George Parker died in 1956, and commercial operations at the grist mill ceased. George's son Dale kept milling for personal use, but mill operations ceased entirely in 1959.
Soon afterward, the farm and mill were acquired by the Matthei family. At some point in the 1960s, the original dam was washed away. In 1983, Frederick Matthei sold 26 acres around the mill site, including both mills and the cabin, to the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission for $165,000 (well under the market value). The family retained the Parker House as a private residence. The Commission restored the mill and opened the site as a park in 1984. Additional trails were added to the park. As of 2013, the mill site is still a Washtenaw County park. The house is now a private residence.
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Parker Mill Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5.0
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  • A great nature getway to seeand take walk thought. It's small park but real nice area to walk thought.  more »
  • A great destination for a nature getaway, allowing you to experience trees, wildlife, a small creek with plenty of walking trails. Great for walking dogs. The grist mill is open a few times a year, an...  more »

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