Tippecanoe Roller Mill
The Tipp Roller Mill is no longer an operating grist mill, but it is a historic landmark and an integral part of Tipp City’s history.
When settlers began to arrive here in increasing numbers during the early 1800’s, there was an immediate need for industry and transportation. In 1837 the Miami-Erie Canal was pushed through this area, greatly improving transportation, and in 1838 Uriah and James John began building the mill at the site of lock number 15 on the canal. Finished in 1839, it began operating as a grist mill, and in 1840 John Clark platted a town to the west of the mill. An admirer of William Henry Harrison, who was at that time campaigning for president of the United States, Clark drew from Harrison’s campaign slogan, “Tippecanoe and Tyler too” and named his new town Tippecanoe.
Many changes have occurred since World War II, and with Interstate 75 bypassing the town to the west, much of the business began moving out toward the interstate, changing the structure of the old business district. Today, there is an on-going effort to preserve some of the history of old Tippecanoe. Early in this century, the mill ceased production of its “Snowball” flour, but the old building still stands, having escaped bulldozers which have removed so many of our historic landmarks. Where it once ground grains, the old building now grinds out music.
Among those who wish to preserve and restore some of the history is Steve Watson, owner of the mill, who wants to preserve the building as a landmark and restore some of the flavor of yesteryear in the old downtown district. To aid in the effort, a schedule of professional entertainment has been offered on Saturday nights at the mill since its opening in June of 1996. As of June 12, 2014 the concerts have moved to Thursday evenings. This change was made due to the demand for weddings and other activities on weekends. The performances are held bi-monthly on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays, June through the 2nd Thursday in December. A variety of music styles, appealing to many tastes, range from big band to jazz to bluegrass and everything in-between. Most of the entertainers, remaining sympathetic to the preservation cause, have waived their regular fees and have agreed to compensation based upon attendance as their contribution to the effort.
The Tipp Roller Mill Theater is located on the first floor of the old grist mill located at 225 East Main Street in Tipp City. The Theater has a raised stage, auditorium seating, and a small dance floor. Shows start at 7:00 pm and admission is $8 per person. Groups and bus tours are always welcome.