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Historic Mill Giving Way Near Mankato

Experts Think Drought Is Causing It To Come Apart
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Seppman Mill is approaching its 150th anniversary next year inside Minneopa State Park in Mankato, but park officials are worried it could crumble.

A large crack in the historic mill is causing severe damage to the structure.

“We first noticed it last summer,” assistant park manager Todd Dailey said. “We think the crack actually developed due to a drought situation.”

Park officials think the clay and soil ground beneath the mill is shifting, thereby causing the stone structure to crack.

“It is very difficult with this crack,” Audrey Shaffer said. “I’m really concerned about it.”

Shaffer is the great-great-granddaughter of Louis Seppman, a stonemason who built the mill in 1864. Audrey brought her own family and family friends, who now live in California, to come visit the site and see the damage.

“I don’t want it to be torn down,” she said.

Park officials have had to close off the inside of the mill to the public for safety concerns. They’re worried if the drought continues and the ground shifts further, the mill might crumble.

“We plan to fix it. We’re discussing options right now,” Dailey said.

The biggest problem is funding. It would be a costly project to repair the 32-foot high stone structure. Audrey and her family are hoping they’ll be able to celebrate the 150th anniversary with the mill still intact.

“I hope that at that point it will be in the process of getting restored,” she said. “I’d like to see this open to the public so they can enjoy it because it’s a piece of history.”

The mill is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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