Sometimes an unpredicted icon structure brings unforeseen discovery. We were simply looking around to find a grocery store in the Lachine/Lasalle neighbourhood and we saw this mill. I know that there are a few still standing in the province but I did not remember that we could see one here.
I was pleased to find an interesting history behind this mill that goes back to the early 19th century. We must remind ourselves that, during that time, the land was subdivided and managed by Seigniors. Each seigniorial territory was expected to provide a flour mill to the residents against a contribution.
Well, Fleming went against this rule. It was privately built for breweries and residents as well. In this case, the Seigniors no longer had the monopoly over the milling in the area which created frustration and to them contradicted the New France rules. The congregation took this situation very seriously and it was brought to court. It took years of arguments and the congregation stopped actions in 1825.
Mr. Fleming, a Scottish immigrant, resisted legally to the pressure of the church which was not a simple task at the time.
The first mill Mr. Fleming built at the source of the dispute was built in 1815 but the current stone mill is the 1827 more solid version still constructed by Mr. Fleming. Located at the same spot, facing the Lac St-Louis, the mill was ingenious since the top section could be oriented for maximization of the wind factor.
It was used for its original purpose until 1891 and has been the property of the city since 1947. It underwent massive reconstruction and is now an historical interpretation center and a small junior audience oriented theater. Unfortunately, the blades fell off the 15 meter (50 ft) tower in 2019.