Our Story

Nestled between the banks of the Crystal River just off the shores of Lake Michigan lies property that represents the heritage of Glen Arbor. 

Originally constructed in 1879, The Mill Glen Arbor is currently undergoing a preservation and adaptive-reuse effort to be reopened as a museum, café, and center for community, health, and wellness.

History of the Mill

1859

John Fisher dams the Crystal River a mile north of Glen Arbor and constructs a grist mill

1866

Thomas Kelderhouse acquires the Fisher Grist Mill

1879

Kelderhouse deconstructs the Fisher Grist Mill and rebuilds as the Kelderhouse Grist Mill

1896

Kelderhouse Family sells to Frank Brammer

1906

Brammer adds roller mills to existing stone mills and “Glen Arbor Roller Mills” is born

1964

Brammer Family sells to Dr. Howard Longyear

1970

Longyear sells to Fred Ball et al.

1970’s

Ball opens “Glen Arbor Roller Mills Recording Studio”

1986

Ball sells to The Homestead

2018

The Homestead sells to The Mill Glen Arbor

2021

The Mill Glen Arbor reopens its doors to the public

Frequently Asked Questions

When will the mill reopen?

Our goal is to have portions of the mill open to the public in the Summer of 2021.  That said, we are carefully considering feedback from local authorities and the community and will adjust our opening schedule as necessary to ensure that the project meets with all necessary approvals.

What do you have planned at the mill when it reopens?

The mill will offer a small museum showcasing the historic milling equipment and the history of grist milling in our region.  A café and space for community gatherings and health & wellness classes will accompany. Rooms in the mill house will be available for rent.

Is the mill ADA accessible?

Upon completion all public portions of the mill will be ADA accessible.

What is inside the mill?

The mill contains two sets of historic milling equipment.  The stone mill operation was installed in 1879 when the mill was originally constructed, and the roller mills were installed in 1906.

How was the mill powered?

Until approximately 1940, the Crystal River was dammed on the east side of M-22 and a sluice under M-22 fed water power to the mill’s water turbines (horizontal water wheels) on the north side of the building.  There are scandalous rumors regarding the destruction of the damn and the decommissioning of the mill.  Who blew up the mill dam!?

Who built the mill and when was it built?

The mill was built by Thomas Kelderhouse in 1879.  More on Kelderhouse and the history of the property when our museum opens!

I hear the mill was a recording studio in the 1970’s. Do your plans include anything honoring the mill’s recording studio history?

That’s right!  Fred Ball and friends established Glen Arbor Roller Mills Recording Studio at the mill in the early 70’s.  We love this part of the mill’s history and look forward to showcasing some of the work from that era.  We’ve also collected a few stories…if these walls could talk!

I love that this will be a museum, what can I expect to see when I visit the mill?

The mill is full of historic milling equipment and impressive craftsmanship.  We are working with local historical societies to curate and display the best the mill has to offer.  We are just as excited as you to see how it all comes out!

What is the Brammer property and how is that related to the mill?

The Brammer property is a two-acre stretch of land south of the mill towards Glen Arbor and includes a farmhouse, an ice house, a smokehouse, and a stable.

What’s an ice house?

An ice house is a building used to store ice throughout the year, commonly used prior to the invention of the refrigerator.  When the Brammer family owned the mill in the early 1900’s they would cut ice from the Fisher and Glen Lakes and store it for sale in the summer months.  The ice house was also operated as a fruit and vegetable stand.

What are the plans for the Brammer property?

Current plans for the Brammer property include parking for visitors to the mill and the rental of the “river house.”  Future plans for the Brammer property include the restoration of the ice house – we’d love your thoughts and suggestions on how this property can be used.

How does the mill impact the Crystal River? Are there environmental concerns?

The mill is committed to preserving the pristine condition of the Crystal River and is working with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to ensure that the improved property will result in a cleaner, healthier Crystal River.

I hear there is going to be a restaurant at the mill. When is the restaurant opening and what kind of food will it serve?

A full-service restaurant is something we will continue to evaluate for the mill.  Our current plans do not call for a full-service restaurant.  Our café may offer baked goods and small plates.

What’s the Heritage Trail Bike Path connection and how is it related to the mill?

The Heritage Trail Bike Path connection is a proposed addition to the existing Heritage Trail that would connect the bike path from Westman Road to downtown Glen Arbor along M-22.   The mill has no relation to the Heritage Trail, but we have agreed to cooperate with Glen Arbor Township to determine whether or not a connection over the mill property is feasible/desirable.  Specifically, last year the mill signed a document called a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to work with Glen Arbor Township in good faith to provide an easement across the mill property if a mutually agreeable route could be located.  At this time, no easement has been granted.

What’s the Heritage Trail Bike Path connection and how is it related to the mill?

The Heritage Trail Bike Path connection is a proposed addition to the existing Heritage Trail that would connect the bike path from Westman Road to downtown Glen Arbor along M-22.   The mill has no relation to the Heritage Trail, but we have agreed to cooperate with Glen Township to determine whether or not a connection over the mill property is feasible/desirable.  Specifically, last year the mill signed a document called a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to work with Glen Arbor Township in good faith to provide an easement across the mill property if a mutually agreeable route could be located.  At this time, no easement has been granted.

What is LOGA?

LOGA stands for Love Old Glen Arbor.  As far as we can tell, LOGA was formed, in part, to petition a decision of the Glen Arbor Township Board to rezone the Brammer property from “Residential II” to “Recreational”.

Why don’t you collaborate with Love Old Glen Arbor (LOGA) and do what’s in the best interest of the town?

We’ve made multiple attempts to sit down with the LOGA petitioners and work through any concerns they have.  So far none of the Love Old Glen Arbor founders have accepted our invitation to do so.  We are confident our plans will result in a great addition to Glen Arbor and something its residents will be proud of.

Do you find it odd that the organization that is opposing your plans have coined themselves “Love Old Glen Arbor”?

We do. Our team really loves old Glen Arbor.  That’s why we have chosen to preserve the mill as a historic piece of Glen Arbor’s history.

Will there be weddings at the mill?

Not at this time.  In the future, the mill may accommodate small weddings or similar events during reasonable business hours and with great care so as to not disturb our neighbors.

Will there by kayak rentals at the mill?

No.  There’s an A+ operation down the street.  We recommend them.

Is it true Bob Seger recorded “Night Moves” at the mill?

Not according to Wikipedia: “Night Moves” was recorded at Nimbus Nine Studios in Toronto, Ontario.

How can I support the mill?

Share our project with family and friends and follow us on Instagram @themillglenarbor.

Contact The Mill

Please feel free to ask us anything. We will answer!

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The Mill Glen Arbor

5440 W Harbor Hwy

Glen Arbor, MI 49636

© 2021 The Mill Glen Arbor, LLC