The 64-year-old Lincoln mill was burned in a fire that evidently started in the basement New Year's morning. The fire was well along when it was discovered and the mill was a total loss, with only the stone walls remaining.
The elevator, connected with the mill building, was also completely destroyed, and one Santa Fe boxcar on the siding besides the elevator was burned, together with about 400 bushels of wheat.
Grain, machinery and other supplies and equpiment contained in the mill and elevator were a total loss. The value of the property destroyed is difficult to estimate but it was large.
The mill and elevator were owned by Elias and Howard Rees, M.J. Rees having sold his interest a few years ago.
The mill was built in 1878 by Elias Rees, grandfather of the Rees brothers now living in Lincoln. In about 1886 their father, L.J. Rees, built the elevator.
Excepting for a year or two during which the mill and elevator were leased to D.D. Nuss and Steve Schandeler, memebers of the Rees family have operated them since they were built. They always owned them.
The mill was built with native limestone walls and native timbers and lumber, chiefly cottonwood sawed by Elias Rees Sr., who operated a sawmill before he built the mill. The seasoned wood burned fast and the fire, considering its size, lasted a comparatively short time.
The mill in the early days had a large trade over this part of the state, extending westward across several counties. Early settlers from up the river drove here to get their grain ground into flour and meal and took several days for the trip.
Later, the mill had a rather large export trade, shipping flour to Europe. A rather large part of its product at one time went into the south, for remixing into biscuit flours.
Elias Rees said this week on his return from Chicago that the elevator might be rebuilt but that it is very unlikely that the mill will be rebuilt, since present trade conditions would not justify it.
The fire occurred during zero weather and with a strong north wind. The fire department was called but was unable to do anything to save buildings or contents.
It was the most destructive fire in Lincoln in years and the only complete fire loss to a Lincoln business concern in a long time.