A Memorable Step Back In Time The Historic Parshallville Cider Mill has a Rich History


The Historic Parshallville Cider Mill, which sits on the scenic banks of Ore Creek in Hartland Township, is located in the tiny, picturesque town of Parshallville, and it attracts thousands of visitors every year from all around the state. Formerly a Flour Mill and then a Grist Mill, its history dates back to 1869, according to the current owners, Jack and Sandy Detlef. The Detlefs have owned the mill since 1983 and it means a lot to them. “All of my grandchildren grew up here!” Sandy Detlef exclaims. “It’s like taking a step back in time.”

This mill offers cider made the old-fashioned way using a rack and cloth press. The cider is not pasteurized and is freshly pressed and bottled on site using only high-quality, Michigan hand-picked apples. You will also find freshly baked, warm and delicious cinnamon-sugar-coated donuts (as well as plain), caramel apples (nutty, plain, and sprinkle) and homemade apple pies. The historic mill also offers a variety of made-in-Michigan products including local honey, maple syrup, jellies, salsa, butters (apple, cherry, pumpkin and sweet potato), frozen cider drinks, and delicious Apple Cinnamon Bread (with or without raisins). Visitors can take their cider and doughnuts outside, sit at tables lining the creek and watch the water tumble down the Ore Creek Dam.

On the weekends, when the weather is good, visitors can enjoy the sound of Country, Gospel, Old Rock and Roll, and Americana Music played by a local band. Car shows are held there throughout the season. “But the best part is the families and the children that come to visit, according to Detlef. “Kids that used to work here are now grown and bring their own kids here.” she shares. “We get a lot of families that have been coming here for years and years.”

Unlike many of the cider mills in the area, Parshallville Cider Mill is not an apple orchard. “We get our apples locally, from a broker in Montrose, and from all over the state,” the owner reports. And, all of the apples that are sold there and used to make the cider are Michigan apples. “Michigan apples have a distinct taste due to the hills, weather and terrain. Michigan has the best apples.”

Parshallville Cider Mill also offers a variety of heirloom apples for baking and eating. “The trees where we get our heirloom apples from have been around for a very long time,” Detlef shares. Russet heirloom apples that are sold there have a dark brown skin. “They don’t look good but the flavor is unbelievable,” she exclaims. The Gravenstein apples are from trees that date back to the 1800s and the Spitzenburg apple has been around since the 1700s. The Spitzenburg is known to be the favorite apple of Thomas Jefferson. The heirloom apples are sold at the mill when in season, normally later in the year, the owner reports.

The scrumptious, from-scratch apple pies are made onsite at the Parshallville Pie shop, a building next to the cider mill. The handmade pies, baking and bubbling in the ovens, fill the air with a heavenly aroma. Varieties include Dutch Apple, Double Crust Apple, and Pumpkin pies in November – just in time for Thanksgiving.

Next year, Parshallville Cider Mill will celebrate its 150th anniversary. The state of Michigan recognized the mill in 1869 but it was built in 1839. The Detlefs are looking forward to the occasion. “It’s a happy place here. Happy people come here to have fun with their families.”

History of Parshallville Cider Mill

This 149-year-old mill has a very rich history as a flour mill (Success Flour) and a grist mill (Tom Walker’s Grist Mill). It is one of the few remaining water-powered mills in the State of Michigan. It was first a flour mill known as Success Flour and eventually became a grist mill, grinding grain for animal feed. These grains are still listed on the mill wall today.

Since 1837, when Isaac and Seraphina Parshall began their life on the North Ore Creek, and built Success Flour, it was a destination that families looked forward to visiting to purchase flour for their baked goods. Parshall scouted for a good mill site all along the Ore Creek and decided this was where they would begin their life. He also established the first Post Office in 1837, and ran it out of his home. He continued to be the Postmaster for the next four years and eight months.

Parshallville was a thriving community in the mid-1800s, with the Flour Mill being the center of it all. The community grew rapidly with the addition of three churches, a school house, two general stores, a wagon shop and livery stable, three blacksmith shops, a medical office, a cheese factory, a cider mill, a hardware store and gas station, a small foundry, along with the flour mill, post office and cemetery.

The Grist Mill has had a succession of owners. On July 23, 1878, there is a warranty deed from Daniel Townley to Thomas a Walker and John A Browning. The Browning one-half interest was granted many more times. On June 28, 1913, Tom Walker purchased the additional one-half interest in his grist mill. It was then passed on to his son Judson. In 1935, the mill became the property of Thomas “Tommy” Walker the grandson of Thomas A. Walker.

Tommy ran the mill, along with his wife Marion, until 1968. Bill and Sue Richards of Milford purchased it and a new life began for the mill. It no longer ground grain for the grist mill, instead it began grinding apples into flavorful apple cider. Following the Richards family, Jim and Sharon Miller from Brighton took over and operated the Cider Mill for eight years prior to selling to the Detlefs family. They are the third owners of the cider mill.

Today, the Parshallville Cider Mill is still one of Michigan’s favorite autumn traditions where families gather to enjoy the splendors of fall.

Photography by Kayce McClure

Source: parshallvillecidermill.com


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