HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Village That Slept Awhile: Spring Mill Pioneer Village
Author: Ralph L. Brooks
Publisher: Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources Division of State Parks, republished 2005
Related website(s): https://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2968.htm
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Teens and adults but suitable for everyone
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Brooks, Ralph L. The Village That Slept Awhile: Spring Mill Pioneer Village (Published originally in 1965 and republished in 2005 by Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources Division of State Parks, 402 W. Washington St., Room W298, Indianapolis, IN 46204). This book tells the story of Spring Mill Pioneer Village in Indiana. Spring Mill State Park is a 1,358-acre state park in the state of Indiana, located to the south of Bloomington, about three miles east of the city of Mitchell on Indiana Highway 60. The Spring Mill area was first settled in 1814 by a young naval officer named Samuel Jackson Jr. who built a cabin and a grist mill. After the land was sold in 1817 to Cuthbert and Thomas Bullitt, who expanded the mill, a bustling village developed with further additions by subsequent owners William and Joseph Montgomery, then Hugh and Thomas Hamer, and finally Jonathan Turley.
However, after the railroad bypassed Spring Mill, the village declined until it was all but abandoned by 1896. The land was owned by the Lehigh Portland Cement Company and used make lime. Restoration of the village was spearheaded by Richard Lieber of Indiana’s Department of Conservation in the late 1920s, and the area was purchased for a state park from the cement company for a single dollar. Spring Mill State Park opened on June 15, 1930. Many of the park’s features were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, including the Spring Mill Inn, Spring Mill Lake, and most of the trails.
The restored settler’s village features as its centerpiece the historic three-story limestone gristmill, that still grinds cornmeal today, along with nineteen other structures. A stream with constant flowing water, which is fed by a spring in Hamer Cave and powers the watermill, runs through the village. The Hamer Cemetery is located south of the village. Today, heritage interpreters portray the year 1863 and demonstrate period crafts and skills from the 1860s. The village is open from May through October. My wife’s family has had their annual reunion at Spring Mill on several occasions, and the Pioneer Village is a very interesting place to visit.