Isaac Ludwig Mill
As I write this, and as far as I know, the Ludwig Mill is not haunted. No ghosts. No orbs. No strange sounds. No weirdness, whatsoever. So, why include it?
Just in case, that’s why.
Actually, the idea to include an entry about the Mill came through a circuitous route of hearsay intimating that something strange happened to someone at some time, and that maybe I should check it out. Generally, I need a little more to go on before packing up the gear and rolling out to a location, so I did what I normally do in situations like this: Scribbled a little note, tossed it on the stack at the corner of my desk, and kinda forgot about it.
I stumbled across it again not too long ago and, out of curiosity, plugged the information into the ol’ Google, and prepared to be entranced by a ghost story or two. But, it wasn’t in the cards. Not a single search result turned up anything even remotely paranormal. So, I clicked on a few links that detailed the history of the Mill and, the more I read, the more I wondered why this place has been ignored by ghosthunters. The early days of Providence, Ohio are filled with enough tragedy to make it the perfect setting for a Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft novel. Curious, I refined my search criteria and, still, there was no mention of the Mill as ever being investigated by a paranormal group.
Now, I realize it’s bad form to suggest a location’s potential for activity based solely on its history, but I’m genuinely curious about the Ludwig Mill. If this entry shakes a story or two loose from the readership, great. If not, that’s okay, too.
Just outside Toledo lies the last remnants of the ghost town of Providence. The former village sits on the Maumee and it is upon this spot that Peter Manor, a French trader, first arrived in 1816. His goal was to set up a trading post for the Northwestern Fur Company, hoping to capitalize on the wants and needs of westward-bound travelers.
Business was booming to such a degree that Manor built a sawmill in 1822 and a gristmill in 1835. When planning began for the Miami and Erie Canal, Manor saw the opportunity to turn his small outpost into a full-fledged community. And, in 1837, the state of Ohio granted him the contract to begin construction of Providence.
It was an immediate success, inspiring visitors to settle in and join the community. Providence quickly gained the reputation as a wholesome place to live as it was generally free from the social problems that tended to plague most canal towns. But, this success was short-lived.
The downward slide of Providence began in 1846 when the town’s business district was consumed by a disastrous fire from which it never fully recovered. Then, in 1854, a cholera epidemic erupted and quickly spread throughout the area. Most of the healthy quickly fled Providence, often with only whatever they could carry on their backs. Those who stayed behind were left to pick up whatever pieces they could manage, but it was no use. On October 28, 1928, Lucas County officially removed Providence from its records. After just 91 years, the town was no more. Of the few buildings which still remained standing and in use, one of them was Ludwig Mill.
In 1842, Manor had sold some land to the state of Ohio for use with the construction of the Miami and Erie Canal. He was also contracted to build a mill, but died before it could be completed. In 1849, a Pennsylvania boat-builder, named Isaac Ludwig, bought and completed construction of the mill.
Ludwig Mill remained in operation until the early 1970s when it was finally shutdown due to lack of business and was donated to the Providence Metropark District.
Has anything out of the ordinary ever been experienced at the Ludwig Mill? I don’t know. I do know that there are other locations along the Miami and Erie Canal which are purported to be haunted and, based on the tragic history of Providence, perhaps the Ludwig Mill is, too. It’s worth a look, don’t you think?
The Isaac Ludwig Mill is located at 13827 US24 West, at SR 578, and is open May through October from 7am until dark every day.
Isaac Ludwig Mill, SciFi Cincinnati