Last week, after our blueberry picking adventure at Vogley's, the kids and I decided to go explore Magnolia (about 25 mins. south of Canton) and visit the iconic red Magnolia Flouring Mills. In 1834, the village of Magnolia was platted by Richard Elson and John W. Smith. Elson soon established his homestead and the Magnolia Flouring Mills. Five generations of the Elson family owned and operated the mill until 2005 when it was acquired by Stark Parks. It continues to operate and serve the local community through the sale of cornmeal, birdseed, animal feed, and various agricultural products.
The mill is open to the public Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. Guided tours are available every Monday at 2 p.m. Even though we weren't there on tour day, the kids enjoyed walking through the mill and afterwards completing the Magnolia Mill Quest. A brochure explaining the quest is available inside the mill office and takes you on a stroll around the mill to discover its history through an educational and fun rhyme. The kids really enjoyed it and I think we'll be putting other Ohio & Erie Canalway Quests on our to-do list for the summer.
Next to the mill you will find the historic Elson Home, which is still owned by the Elson family.
Across the street from the Elson Home you'll find an historical market at the site of the original Elson Homestead, an Historic Underground Railroad Site. Richard Elson's story of traveling on flat boats down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans to sell his goods and HIKING the 1,000 miles home, SEVEN times, is pretty amazing. His experiences with the treatment of slaves in the south during those journeys led him to become involved with providing a safe house and aiding with the Underground Railroad in Ohio.
Across the other street from the Elson Home is the Charleston Gathering House, which is available for private parties and also overnight accommodations. Maybe an overnight getaway to this quaint corner of Stark County is in order?
And last, but not least, you can't visit Magnolia without visiting Taggarts. Better known for their Canton location, Taggarts is a Stark County institution. Taggarts Magnolia is located in the historic Isaac Miller Inn, a restored stagecoach inn built in 1812. Decorating the walls of the restaurant are historic photos of Magnolia, and I loved the old soda fountain backdrop.
We ate lunch and of course had to get ice cream. My son opted for chocolate, my daughter banana, and for me, it's hard to go to Taggarts without getting their famous Bittner. Pictured below is the "mini." I've never been daring enough to order the regular size.
Above the restaurant you'll find the Magnolia Area Historical Society. We weren't able to visit the museum on this outing (nap time), but it gives us a reason to go back. If you're interested in visiting the museum, call ahead for their hours, 330-866-9744. So, next time you're looking for something to do, take a drive to southern Stark County. You might be surprised at what you find!