‘The Miller of Edina’

Mill’s demise preceded George Millam’s passing.
George Millam made enough money as "the miller" of Edina to send for a bride in his native Scotland.

George Millam, a founding father of Edina, came to Minnesota as a 21-year-old immigrant from Balnamoon, Scotland. After a short time working at the Richfield mill, he was hired by fellow Scotsman Andrew Craik to run the Edina mill.

“The Edina mill was some mill when I got here,” Millam told the Minneapolis Journal in 1924, when the Thorpe Brothers purchased the mill site for the newly platted Country Club District. “We used to grind for all the nearby farmers, and our patrons even included the Sioux, then encamped along the Minnesota River."

Earnings from the prosperous mill allowed Millam to save up enough money in three years to send for a bride from Scotland and later purchase the mill.

Even when Minneapolis’ industrial mills opened, the Edina mill survived thanks to its specialization in grinding oatmeal and pearl barley. But when Minnehaha Creek water levels fell in the late 1880s, the mill closed and Millam became a janitor at the one-room school near the mill and then at the new yellow brick Edina School when it was built in 1888.

Millam would forever be affectionately known as “the miller” of Edina despite his change in occupation. Even Country Club District newcomers revered the village pioneer and his wife Margaret, giving them a place of honor in the first July 4th parade in 1931. Many fought to save the shuttered mill from demolition, and the local newspaper wrote, “That old mill is still part of the old miller … the two have seen the years pass and the community change together.”

Despite those efforts, the mill was torn down in 1933; two years later, George Millam, “Miller of Edina,” died at age 86.


Edina City Hall will host a Founders’ Day event December 12 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Edina’s incorporation as a village. Visit edinahistoricalsociety.org/125th for more information.