The waters of the Little Miami River have been supplying power to mills in Clifton, near Dayton, since 1802. The Clifton Mill is considered to be one of the largest water-powered grist mills still operating in America.
While they have a traditional water wheel that turns near the first floor of the mill, that one is just for tourists. The real work is done by a millrace forcing water into a turbine in the basement of the mill. The only evidence of its existence is the water pouring from the side of the building back into the Little Miami River Gorge.
While the Clifton Mill attracts most visitors during the Christmas season when the mill and the gorge are illuminated with millions of colored lights, it is a great place to visit in other seasons, especially in the autumn.
The mill today only produces small amounts of flour for demonstration purposes during tours of the historic structure. The flour they sell to visitors is actually made to their specifications by other nearby commercial mills.
My favorite spot is in the Millrace Restaurant located inside the mill, overlooking the Little Miami River Gorge, where one of the specialties is “man-hole cover” size pancakes. While they really aren’t quite that big they do measure 11 to 12 inches across and are nearly an inch thick. The two pancakes they serve you contain enough batter to probably make a stack six inches high of normal-sized pancakes. In fact, the cakes are so big that they fill the plate and there is no room for the syrup and butter to go anywhere except off the plate and onto the table.
★ You can read the rest of this story in the Saturday, September 22nd edition of the Plain Dealer or on their website at http://www.cleveland.com