By David Fleet
A 1924 Village of Ortonville fire truck. A local Civil War uniform. The medical equipment of Ortonville’s first doctor and pharmacist.
Just a few of thousands of items on display at the Old Mill Museum, 366 Mill St., Ortonville which will open its door on April 1.
“The community is welcome to stop by and see what’s new at the Old Mill Museum,” said Judy Miracle, Ortonville Community Historical Society president. “We have tour guides or you can browse on your own—step back in time and learn about the foundation of this community.”
The mill was built in 1856 by the town founder, Amos Orton, who also constructed a saw mill, blacksmith shop, and was the first local postmaster. The building housing the museum was built with the original hand-hewn timbers which were felled from the local property more than 150 years ago. The museum houses an extensive collection of local farm equipment and implements and a extensive military collection from the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts.
Many local military personnel’s artifacts are displayed. Also on exhibit are old cameras, typewriters, a working organ and player piano, a Victrola and many laundry day items from the 20th century.
“You will be able to watch a demonstration of rug weaving on our century-old loom,” she said. “The rugs are made from a myriad of donated fabrics from the community.”
Behind the museum is the Mann School—a one-room schoolhouse refurbished to near original condition. Teachers and their students are invited to schedule a day to experience what it was like in the early 1900s. The Ortonville Community Historical Society was created in 1968 as a group of volunteers dedicated to the preservation of our local history. Their goal is to educate the community on the foundation of the quaint, small town Ortonville has become today.
Membership in OCHS is $15 per year for individuals, and $20 per year for families, $100 for individual lifetime membership, and $200 for family lifetime membership. Send checks to PO Box 155, Ortonville, Mich. Membership meetings are every first Tuesday of the month; members are invited to them, but attendance is not required. Membership entitles one to a monthly newsletter, invitations to members’ events, and an opportunity to meet many new friends. Check out the OCHS Facebook page and website: firstname.lastname@example.org. Details: President Judy Miracle at 248-627-4656. The museum is open every Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. from April to December. Admission is free.