A patron was walking near the falls and grew curious about their history. “What used to be built near the falls in Newton Falls? Was there a mill or anything like that?”
We were able to find a lot of information in Fragments of History of Newton Falls and Newton Township, Ohio, compiled, edited, and annotated by Wendell F. Lauth and the Friends of the Newton Falls Public Library and History of Newton Falls, compiled by Ella A. Woodward. Fragments of History even included a picture of the falls, circa 1900, with the Hoyle Woolen Mill on one side and part of the Eagle Mills on the left.
Mr. Canfield and Mr. Ruggles (no first names available) built a sawmill in 1806 on the site that would later house the Hoyle Woolen Mill. The woolen mill itself was built in 1825, enlarged and improved in 1843, and sold to Allen Hoyle in 1857. Under Hoyle's ownership, it became well-known for the excellent quality of its products. According to History of Newton Falls, some of the blankets from the Hoyle mill were still around a hundred years later.
Canfield and Ruggles built the first grist mill (also known as a flour mill) in 1811, but a drunk man took refuge in it one winter night in 1817 and ended up burning it down.Twelve years later, Horace and Augustus Stephens (or Stevens, depending on the source) built the Eagle Mills, another grist mill, to take its place. The Stephens were bought out and their mill rebuilt by the Porter family in 1871, who renamed it the Eagle Mills of Porter and Sons.
Both the Eagle Mills and the Hoyle Woolen Mill seem to have been bought up by an electric company around 1908.
We’re fortunate enough to have a dedicated volunteer who works in the local history room most Wednesdays and may be able to pull more information and old pictures. Give us a call any Wednesday to see if she’s available!