Local park is a popular destination for visitors to the area
By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail County Correspondent
On Friday, June 18, Executive Director Chris Schuelke of the Otter Tail County Historical Society was interviewed on a county radio station and emphasized how widely known is Phelps Mill across the entire state of Minnesota.
“And Phelps Mill is known by others in neighboring states as well,” said Schuelke who went on to give a brief history of this historic mill in central Otter Tail County.
The annual Phelps Mill Festival is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday July 10 and 11. People will come to enjoy the arts, food and entertainment.
The summer months are busy times when people come to Phelps Mill and its park. Phelps Mills also attracts visitors to the historical flour mill building.
Two picnic shelters can be reserved for family reunions, picnics and other functions such as weddings. The Otter Tail County offices can be reached for reservations by calling 218-998-8000.
People enjoy walking across the historic pedestrian bridge. Others fish along the banks of the Otter Tail River near Phelps Mill.
There is a play area for children and nearby are modern restrooms and spacious parking facilities. Running water and electricity are available.
Phelps Mill Park came into being in 1965 when Otter Tail County purchased the mill and surrounding land as a recreational site.
Located in Maine Township, the mill was constructed in 1889. It was designed to produce 60 to 75 barrels of flour per day.
Phelps Mill was very successful until 1900, but after that year business gradually declined. The mill was sold in 1919.
By the 1930s the railway was in place and it became easier for county farmers to ship their grain to Minneapolis. Phelps Mill went out of business in 1939.
Phelps Mill was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The mill and park are located west of Otter Tail Lake, just north of Highway 1. Head north of Highway 1 for a short distance along Highway 45 and you will arrive at the park.