The new water wheel at Lanterman’s Mill in Youngstown is finally finished and running.
As the water of Mill Creek rolled swiftly over the dam Friday afternoon, deep inside Youngstown’s iconic Lanterman’s Mill, people stood on the stairs — peering down and taking pictures of the new wheel.
The ribbon was cut and the water began flowing into the mill. Just several minutes later, the water wheel was spinning again for the first time in several years.
“Today was an exciting day for all of Mill Creek Park,” said Mark Dolak, who volunteers in the park.
Like most everyone on hand Friday, it was a unique experience.
“I’ve seen the other four wheels that were installed here at Lanterman’s, but I’ve never seen a brand new one working for the first time,” Dolak said.
And work it did. The water from Mill Creek provided the energy to move the wheel and all the attached gears.
Youngtown’s Bobbi Allen got emotional talking about the wheel. It was her group that produced the Recipes of Youngstown cookbook. The $82,000 it generated helped pay the $182,000 the wheel cost.
“So many people were involved, so many people were behind this and this is wonderful,” Allen said.
The water wheel is 14 feet in diameter and built of white oak. Hassett Millwrights, of Kentucky, did the work.
“I think that if anybody comes and looks at it, if they don’t feel something that just overwhelms them when they go down there, then they weren’t from Youngstown,” Allen said.
The current mill was built in the 1840s to grind grain into flour. That’s the ultimate goal of the new wheel. Sometime later this spring, Lanterman’s Mill will be making flour once again.