What is Brush Creek Mill?

Brush Creek Mill is a Michigan Non-profit Corporation with Federal 501(c) 3 tax exempt status. Our facility is totally operated by volunteers. The building is owned by the Village of Hillman and leased to Brush Creek Mill (BCM) at no cost. Terms of the lease require BCM to maintain the facility in good condition and keep it open to the public.

Why build a grist mill in Hillman?

The first grist mill was built on this site during the 1880’s, and served local farmers for ever 70 years. Around 1980, this original building fell into disrepair and was torn down. Several years later, the property was acquired by the Village. This site remained undeveloped until, in the mid-1990’s, local residents began exploring developement possibilities that would provide both cultural and ecomomic benefit to the communtity.

How did you get the funds to construct?

Northern Innovative Communities (NIC), a non-profit community organization, was locally active and identified public interest to develop a community-based facility on this riverside site. Assisted by NIC, local citizens organized, applied for and received a grant from USDA of $90,000, to initiate the project. This funding was followed by generous grants from the Village of Hillman, Hillman Township, Hillman Power Company and Michigan Council of the Arts. Additionally, numerous donations from local businesses and residents, as well as significant labor and material, were pledged to the project. During the next years, a value of over $400,000 was raised. Initial site excavation , currently valued at over one million dollars, began October 30, 2003.

I have heard this is a “Green Space.” What does that mean?

A “green space” is designed, built, and operated to cause minimum enviroment impact. BCM was constructed and insulated to be as air-tight as possible. Sixty solar panels are positioned on the south-facing roofs that can produce from 8-10,000 watts, well more than we can consume. Excess wattage is returned to the commercial “electric grid” for which BCM is issued credit applied toward billings of less sunny months. We plan to install geo-thermal heating/cooling in the near future.

What do we do here?

During the summer, Brush Creek Mill is open six days a week, and on weekends for the rest of the year. We offer various classes in crafts, computers, ethnic cooking, quilting, yoga, etc. Space for small parties and larger meetings may be rented at BCM. Building tours and demonstrations of the grist mill operation and the alternative energy capacity of the building are aften conducted. The Gift Shop features unique works of local artists and artisans at reasonable prices. There are regular monthly activities such as Music at the Mill, Scrapbook Saturdays, and Bunko. Additionally, during the year there are several large communtiy-wide events.

Are you planning any new projects?

In keeping with our mission statement, we are very concerned with preserving local and regional history. This Historical Society has provided several very interesting displays of local family heritage. We intend to record verbal histories based on memories and stories of older residents. Important aspects of local and regional history such as lumbering, farming, fires, transportation, education, etc. are featured at BCM. Brush Creek Mill provides a perfect museum setting to tell the story of “Northeast Lower Michigan.”

Open Hours

 Thursday-Saturday 12-4