The sign above the door at Sciple's Mill says it has been in business since 1790. Now if that's the case, then it's 30 years older that the Woodville Republican Newspaper, which has been considered the state's oldest continuously operated business. But whichever, Sciple's Mill sits silent right now.
Usually this gap between the building and the earthen dam is filled in with a series of wooden gates that, when closed, causes the water to fill the millpond behind them. But since a flood in the middle of the night last winter, Running Tiger Creek has been free to run through here because the gates were taken out. Edward Sciple, proprietor of the mill, says it's not the first time that's happened.
"I guess just a log probably hung on the gates and the pressure just pushed it. And when it did it just, when it come a-lose, it all just tumbled down, broke. It'd just been built back not too long before it broke again," said Sciple.
Edward says not to worry, they'll get the mill back up and running again as soon as they can. It was just too cold last winter to do much with it, and every time his son, Eddie's had time to work on it lately, the water's been too high. I guess I cringe a little when I see something like Sciple's Mill out of operation, for fear that it might not come back. Things do age. Time passes. Edward himself has passed operation of the mill on to his son.
"He's been running it about two years. I just can't do it," said Sciple.
I had an elderly aunt who still worked in her garden well past age 90. When someone asked her why she didn't sit down and rest a while, she told them that once you sit down, there's a danger you might not get back up. And I guess that's my concern about the mill. That it might not come back. But Edward says that shouldn't be a worry.
"Yeah that phone rings off the hook from 6 o'clock in the morning till I go to bed at night wanting meal. All these stores out," said Sciple.
So, if for no other reason than to silence the phone, they'll get it going again. As soon as they can. Meanwhile, I wonder how the fishing is in the swift running water of Running Tiger Creek?
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