Waupaca’s last water-powered mill is being demolished this week.
Built in 1884 by Robert N. Roberts and Samuel Oborn, the Crescent Roller Mills was a three-story building with a clapboard exterior and a low-pitched gable roof. It sits on a fieldstone foundation on the 200 block of South Oborn Street.
According to information from the Wisconsin Historical Society, the mills’ owners built a flume from an existing millpond to the Waupaca River.
The mill processed a variety of local grains including wheat, oats, buckwheat and rye. Most of the flour was sold locally, but Roberts and Oborn also contracted with the Wisconsin Central Railroad to lay a spur track to the mill so that their flour could be delivered to more distant markets in Wisconsin and other states.
After operating the mill for 17 years, in 1901 Roberts and Oborn sold it to J.C. Eilertson, who changed the name to the Waupaca Roller Mills.
In the following year, Eilertson sold the business to Walter and Victor Fallgatter.
In 1905 the mill was owned by Ward Fallgatter and Fred Fisher. The business was then known as the Fisher-Fallgatter Mill.
Fisher eventually left the business to enter politics, serving as Waupaca’s mayor from 1936 to 1938 and as a state senator from 1939 to 1942
The Fisher-Fallgatter Mill closed in 1969.
In 1978, Robert and Marjorie Paske purchased the mill and turned it into a museum. The mill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
The building has been empty and in disrepair for more than a decade.