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This article first appeared in the September 4, 2013 issue of the The Low Down to Hull and Back News.External Link Reprinted with permission. Search complete list of Low Down Articles.

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Happy 175 b-day Mill - my, how much you've changed

by Trevor Greenway

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MaLaren Flour Mill (Wakefield Mill) circa 1920. Photo courtesy Gatineau Valley Historical Society.

How much can something change in 175 years?

If you compare the pictures of the Wakefield Mill in 1838 to today, the answer to that question may be "not that much" - maybe not from the outside, but when you open the doors to the old building perched atop Mill Road in Wakefield, you'll quickly see how much has actually changed on the inside since the late 1830s.

The heavy equipment of the former flour mill was replaced by elegant furniture, a pool table, bar, fireplace and an impressive hot tub area over-looking the MacLaren Falls.

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Workers in front of Maclaren's woolen mill, circa 1900. Photo courtesy Gatineau Valley Historical Society.

Gone are the wheels, gears and stones used to grind down grains for livestock in the 1940s. Also gone is the mill's engine room - it's now the downstairs dining room and the former turbine rooms, which used to power the working mill, are now occupied by fine wines and pampered guests relaxing in the luxurious spa.

Many know the history of how local husband and wife team Robert Milling and Lynne Berthiaume restored the old mill in the early 2000s and turned it into a renowned inn and spa. Such famous politicians as Hillary Clinton and the late Jack Layton, among others have stayed there.

We won't retell the story, but since the Mill has no real plans to celebrate the big birthday of the old stone mill, the Low Down, with the help of the Gatineau Valley Historical Society (GVHS,) put together a few photos on the building's stunning history.

See for yourself how much the historic mill has changed over the years.

For more information, visit the mill's website at www.wakefieldmill.com or the GVHS at www.gvhs.ca.