Mill remains©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko
Beales Mills was a small mill community that got its start during the 1860s. The mill site and settlement, named after the founder Benjamin Beale, was located on Beales Creek, about 1.5 kilometres from the village of Charleston, a small community located on Charleston Lake.
Athough Charleston was never large, it offered a full range of services including two hotels, a cooper, blacksmith and a sawmill, owned by Slack and Foster. Charleston however lacked much-needed water power, which nearby Beales Mills had in abundance.
Beales Mills was a substantial operation that included saw, grist and flour mills as well as shingle manufacturing. Wheat farming was the main commodity in the area at the time, and local farmers kept the grist mill constantly busy with a steady supply of grain.
The mill site itself was in an ideal position. Located next to a small waterfall, that flowed into Beales Creek,the mills had more than ample power to keep grinding from morning to night. Almost all of Charleston's water power originated from Beales Mills and the mills were in constant demand.
Since Beales Mills never had a post office, very little information is available on the actual town site or residents. Benjamin Beale himself was listed as a Charleston resident. The mills were known to have operated until the late 1890s and likely into the early part of the 20th century.
Today, very little remains of Beale's Mills. The only buildings that still stand are a couple of houses, both nicely renovated and occupied. The remains of the mill and mill dam can be found undisturbed in a gully, alongside the waterfall.