Rainsboro's Barrett's Mill

The foundations of Barrett's Mill and adjoining covered bridge are all that remain today. In 1980 both the mill and bridge fell victim to an arsonist. The history of a mill at this location, however, goes back into the early 19th century. According to Paul Barrett, who still resides in the Barrett home place, a mill was built in the 1820s but burned in the 1850s. An ancestor of his, Captain David Barrett, replaced the original mill in the 1860s and it remained in operation for many decades. In the 1960s the mill was purchased by Jack Hope and opened as a tourist attraction in 1968 through 1970. An economic downturn in 1970 forced its closure. In the mid-1970s the mill reopened briefly but was closed for five years prior to the 1980 fire. The Barrett family also ran a woolen mill about  a quarter mile down Barrett Mill Road along Factory Branch Creek. This building was torn down many years ago but in the early 20th century a Doctor Boyd used it as a hospital for treating area victims of a world-wide flu epidemic that killed 660,000 Americans. 

Click pictures below to enlarge.

barretts mill 1960.jpg (15193 bytes)
Barrett's Mill, the bridge and the Barrett home from the north in 1878. Barrett's Mill from the Barrett home in 1960. Barrett's Mill and Covered bridge in the late 1960s.  Barrett's Mill and bridge from a post card made in the 1970s.

Local corn being ground into cornmeal in the 1970s. (Can anyone ID the person?)

Al Lunsford and his black- smith shop which was part of the mill complex in the 1970s.

A painting of Barrett's Mill and the covered bridge.

A view of the mill dam when it was drained in 1967.

The dam during a flood. Photo taken sometime after the fire.

The mill's foundation is all that remains today.

The remaining stone abutments are what remains of the covered bridge over Rocky Fork Creek. In the summer this remains a favorite swimming/fishing hold for local residents.

This series of three color photographs were taken in 1980 just before the bridge and mill were destroyed by fire. The county had just recently restored the bridge with new flooring, siding, roofing and viewing ports. The bridge over Rocky Fork Creek was originally built in 1870 and was 156 feet long. Mechanically it was of a design known as a "long" bridge and was located three miles southeast of Rainsboro, Ohio in Highland County. 

 Street scene of Rainsboro, Ohio...circa late 1800s. Courtesy of Mike Stone.

   Click pictures to enlarge.

Photo of the Barrett Woolen Mill which was located on Barrett's Mill Rd. along Factory Branch Creek. Later used as a hospital for treating victims of the 1918 flu epidemic that eventually killed over 21 million persons world-wide.

woolen factory foundation a.jpg (120315 bytes) All that remains of the woolen mill is the stone foundation.  woolen factory foundation b.jpg (113853 bytes)



The Barrett home as it appears today. Built in 1876 the home took two years to complete. All the foundation stones are hand carved including the corner stones. Remodeled in 1993, the home is occupied today by Paul Barrett, his wife Kandy, and their two sons Brandon and Jonathon. Paul is the great great grandson of Captain David Mitchell Barrett who rebuilt the mill in the 1860s.
In 1980, just one month before it was destroyed by fire, Highland County rebuilt the covered bridge at Barrett's Mill. The bridge was updated with new flooring, siding, roof and windows. This is a photo of the newly remodeled bridge.

Professional photograph taken by Gary Lee Harman for use in a series of post cards of covered bridges. A watercolor of the mill and bridge by the famous naturalist painter James D. Werline.

Here's a couple of snapshots of Barrett's Mill submitted by Patricia Knisley who, along with her brothers, lived in the area during the 1970s. The fellow on the wagon was Arthur Cook who lived on Ferneau Rd. He had a brother named Elmer and another name Hobert who farmed between New Petersburg and Rainsboro along SR 753.



My name is Randy Stafford. Thank You for this wonderful site. My grandparents lived on cave road when I was a small child. My Grandfathers name was Ray Stafford. They were not very wealthy people by any means, they had a small home between the 7 caves and what looks like Dry cave on this site. Back in the 1960's and early 70's when I was a small child I would spend the summers with my grandparents and would have the run of the countryside, the caves, and fishing at Paint Creek. Crossing the covered bridge was an everyday occurrence. The location my grandparents lived in at that time was known as cave holler, There were three houses in a row on the east side of the road, my grandparents built and owned the north house, my uncle John built and lived in the second house which if I remember correctly sat on the edge of a rock ledge over the road. My uncle Jerry owned the third house which was closest to the Cave. There used to be a little shack that sat across the road directly beside the creek, we used to fish behind this home almost everyday. I used to think my grandparents were poor but I would give anything to have their lifestyle and the property they lived on back then. I have not been to Cave Holler since my grandmother moved in the early 70's, I live in Oklahoma today and miss this area very much. If you know of any other websites with information on the area or people I would appreciate the information. Thank You.

Randy Stafford, Randy.C.Stafford@conocophillips.com (July 14, 2003)

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A special thanks to Paul and Kandy Barrett, Harry and Betty Turner, Karen Beatty Gander and Patricia Knisley.

If you have any additional photos or information please email us at mill@highland-ohio.com.

Copyright Fall Creek Design, April 19, 2002