Kiel, WI. – The Wisconsin Historical Society placed the Kiel Mill (Kiel, Manitowoc County) on the State Register of Historic Places in February of 2021.
A flour mill was planned for the Kiel community as early as 1860, but did not come to fruition until more than two decades later. German-born William Meyer, who received his early training and experience at mills in both Cedarburg and Thiensville, relocated to Kiel in 1882. After purchasing property along the Sheboygan River, he built the city’s first and only water-powered flour mill in 1883. That same year, he erected a home for his family that still stands across the street today.
By 1893, Meyer transitioned away from flour milling to grinding feed for livestock. In 1894, he built a powerhouse to accommodate the machinery required for steam power. Although the new wing suffered a fire in 1897, it was immediately rebuilt. In 1901, Meyer sold the mill to the Kiel Grain and Milling Company. A brick chimney for coal power was added in 1902.
The mill changed hands twice before being purchased by Harry and Walter Klemme in 1919 and 1920, respectively. During their ownership, which lasted until 1953, the mill was converted from steam to electrical power and the warehouse wing was added. The mill functioned as a feed mill until 1981 and although it was vacant for twenty years, it is currently being rehabilitated for mixed-residential use. The building stands as an excellent example of an early mill, an increasingly rare survivor reflecting early rural history.
The State Register is Wisconsin’s official list of state properties determined to be significant to Wisconsin’s heritage. The State Historic Preservation Office at the Wisconsin Historical Society administers both the State Register and National Register in Wisconsin.
To learn more about the State and National Register programs in Wisconsin, visit www.wisconsinhistory.org.