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The Naples Red Mill

The Naples Red Mill is a time capsule of 19th Century upstate New York. Built in 1815, the Mill was vital to Naples at the beginning of the mechanized new world, as people harnessed the power of nature to produce the goods needed to sustain life. The Mill used water from Grimes Glen to transform grain into flour. It became so important in its day that it redefined the location of the Naples Village. It drew settlers from neighboring towns, and it became a meeting place where the news of the day was discussed as folks gathered on its wrap-around porches. 
The Mill was built by Simeon Lyon in 1815. Thirty-five years later, Lyon’s son S.C. Lyon and partners, Watkins, and Story, renovated the Mill using the original structure and foundations. 
Through the 1800’s ownership changed several times, and new improvements were made. Steam power was added in 1870, followed by a new waterwheel in 1872, and a general overhauling was begun in 1881. In 1889, N.W. Clark purchased the Mill and installed a [grain] roller.


B.L. Clark changed the water wheel to a turbine in 1905. Electricity was substituted for waterpower in 1911, and water was forever shut off from the Naples mill race in 1920. After its purpose as a functioning mill came to an end, the building was purchased by Widmer’s Wine Cellars in 1930 and was used for storage. In 1965, the winery donated the Mill to the Village of Naples.
In 1975, Bill Vierhile, Naples Town Historian and local business owner, bought the Red Mill from the town. After making many upgrades and repairs, he donated the building and its contents to the Naples Historical Society in 2015.
Currently, the Red Mill serves as storage for a vast collection of artifacts and antiques that date back to the early 1800s. Many items define the era of early Naples work history and the settlement of early Western New York, for example, tools, local signs from the 1800s, carriages, and agricultural implements. Items from the 1900s include memorabilia from the Naples movie theater, built in 1920, which due to an accidental fire was destroyed in 1961. In short, the Red Mill contains the memories and treasures of the community from its earliest days.


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