STOCKPORT - For more than 100 years, a grain mill operated on the banks of the Muskingum River in Stockport.
When it was shut down in 1997, the mill didn't fade into history.
Instead, it was transformed into an inn and restaurant, as it has operated since 2000.
The historic Stockport Mill Inn & Restaurant sits on the Muskingum River at Lock No. 6. Offering a scenic view of the river, as well as the history of the turbine powered grain mill built in 1906, the inn is one of several attractions along the Muskingum River. (Photo by Kevin Pierson)
Overlooking the Muskingum River at Lock No. 6, the Stockport Mill Inn & Restaurant offers a scenic view of several miles of river, and dozens of acres of farmland. It even overlooks a bald eagle nest.
"People like to come and see what we've done with the old mill," said Dottie Singer, owner of the Stockport Mill.
Originally built in 1906, the building that now houses the Stockport Mill was the third mill built on the site, located at 1995 Broadway Ave., Stockport.
A mill has been in operation at that point since 1842, but fire destroyed the original mill, Singer said.
The mill is powered by turbines located in the Muskingum River. The turbines at the mill still provide electricity to the inn, and during its original days as a mill supplied much more.
"It supplied the power not only for the mill, but the street lights in the village," Singer said.
With 14 rooms and a 150-seat dining room, the inn is a popular destination, Singer said.
Each room has at least a queen size bed, and a balcony overlooking the river. A deck surrounds the Mill's first-floor dining room.
Seven of the rooms feature spas, and several of the others feature antique style claw-foot bathtubs. The Captain Hook suite also has a private hot tub. The Wooten Room is fully handicapped accessible.
"It brings the extreme rustic together with most modern conveniences," Singer said.
The peaceful view is one of the popular draws for the inn, Singer said, and it covers more than just the river and farmland.
High on a ridge across the river is a nesting pair of bald eagles. Singer has binoculars and even a telescope set up to allow guests to get a better view of the nest.
The adult eagles will frequently come down to the dam that the mill sits beside to catch fish, Singer said. The view, and the history of the mill itself, is one of several aspects appreciated by Liz Guilkey, 48, of Portsmouth, who was staying at the mill recently.
"I appreciate how they were able to convert it from a closed feed mill to something everybody can enjoy," Guilkey said. "It just really takes advantage of the scenery of the river."
The view, particularly from the lofty heights of the four-story building, is appreciated by employees, guests and local residents.
Janna Woodburn, 21, of Stockport, has worked at the mill for three years and said she never gets tired of the pastoral view offered from the mill.
"I go to school at Ohio University," Woodburn said. "There's a big difference, campus town versus here. You get to look out your door and all you see is green."
Along with the peaceful view, there's also a quiet solitude that comes with sleeping by the river.
After traveling home to Portsmouth, Guilkey said it can even get hard to sleep as the city can be incredibly loud.
"The sound of the river is very peaceful," she said.
Deana Clark, director of the Morgan County Convention and Visitor's Bureau, said the history and solitude of the mill make it a popular draw for tourists.
"To me, when you walk in there it's like you've entered into a different era," Clark said.
Much of the equipment originally in use at the mill remains on site, having been converted into decorations.
Spindles used to mix the grains are still in the mill, and one of the original turbines used to generate power for the mill is also on display.
"Some of the equipment is still up there, sitting in place," Singer said.
One of the grain bins in the Mill has been converted into a massage room, where a licensed massage therapist can offer treatment. Massages are by appointment only.
"The mill is definitely an asset to tourism for the county," Clark said.
Situated on the river overlooking the dam, fishing is another popular draw for the mill. A large muskie caught off the mill's balcony hangs mounted in the dining room, a gift from a past guest.
Even the employees take advantage of the path leading down to the water at the mill.
"We like to go down there and fish," Woodburn said.
Along with inn rooms ranging from $89 to $299 a night, the Stockport Mill Inn also has a restaurant that operates from 5 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The dining room seats 150, and opens onto a deck over the water.
"It's so relaxing. You're away from cell phone service. You're away from big city everything," Clark said.