Archibald Mill

The city of Dundas has offered to purchase the old Archibald Mill, which sits along the Cannon River. The purchase means much of the west riverfront through Dundas is now city owned. (Suzanne Rook/Northfield News)

A piece of Dundas history could soon be in city hands now that the City Council has agreed to buy the old Archibald Mill property.

The mill, now in ruins, sits along the west side of the Cannon River, and was built in the mid to late 19th Century by city founder John S. Archibald.

The council agreed to pay current owners, the Jerome and Karlene Adams Trust, $75,000 for the 1.3-acre site. Rice County records show the property is assessed for $85,200. The sale is contingent on the Dundas Planning Commission’s approval.

City Administrator John McCarthy said the city hasn’t decided how to use the site or determined costs for its upkeep, but that the 1,800-square-foot engine house could be used by the community or for storage. The building has been considered as a potential site for the Dundas Historical Society.

The purchase, which could be finalized by mid-July, would have Dundas owning a large swath of riverfront property, from the Mill Towns Trail trailhead off Railway Street south to Bridge Street. The city last week completed construction of a trailhead kiosk just north of the old limestone flour mill. A dedication is planned for later this month.

The mill is significant, partly due to its ownership, said local historian Chip DeMann. The Ameses of Northfield and the Archibalds of Dundas were by far the wealthiest and most powerful families in northern Rice County.

But the mill was also known for producing award-winning flour. The Archibalds, according to a Sept. 8, 1976, story in a Northfield Historical Society publication on Rice County/southern Minnesota, were known for using the latest technology in their mills. Some of hose methods are still employed today. The mill was never rebuilt after it was destroyed in an 1892 fire.

DeMann says he hopes the city will leave the old mill untouched.

“In its present form — in ruins — is probably the most practical way to present the site,” he said.

Reach Suzanne Rook at 645-1113. Follow her on Twitter @rooksuzy.

-Reach Suzanne Rook at 645-1113. Follow her on Twitter @rooksuzy.

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