Clinton’s famous Red Mill is often hailed as the most photographed building in New Jersey. While there’s no way to track that data, it has been featured in numerous films, calendars and advertising campaigns. Today, it’s a charming museum and popular wedding venue… but it has quite a dark past.
Red Mill History
The oldest parts of the mill were built back in 1810 by Ralph Hunt to process wool. The Hunt family owned several mills in the area (then called Hunt's Mills) and nearly 400 acres of land. Unfortunately, his business failed within a decade and the mill was eventually purchased by John Bray and John B. Taylor.
The Taylor family, a prominent milling family at the time, changed the town's name to Clinton after New York governor, DeWitt Clinton. The name stuck, but yet again, the business failed.
The mill was then bought by John W. Snyder, who transformed it into a gristmill and ceased wool production. He quickly fell into debt and the complex almost seemed cursed - one failure after another. The property continued to change hands rapidly, later serving as a graphite mill which filled the town with thick black dust. In 1928, the property was sold to the Clinton Water Supply company and the mill was closed.
Ghosts Of The Red Mill
Mill work was very dangerous in the 1800s, with little to no safety measures in place. Workers were often maimed or killed and there are numerous stories (some verified) of untimely deaths surrounding Clinton's Red Mill.
Stories tell of a mill worker who fell into the third floor hopper and suffocated to death. Others mention a young boy who lived on the property that was cleaning a revolver when it discharged. Still more say the spirit of a young girl whose father worked at the mill often comes to visit. A verified tale involves the tenant house on the property - documentation shows a death by heart attack.
Guests have reported hearing footsteps in vacant areas of the tenant house, objects moving with no clear cause throughout the property and even seeing a man on the third floor of the mill. Many have mentioned the authentic period re-enactor on the third floor - but the mill does not employ period re-enactors.
Lucky for the supernatural sleuths out there, there are so many ways to experience the mill's paranormal past - and present. Annual ghost and folklore tours are held by the mill, a haunted Halloween Village is hosted seasonally and an event on the 16th brings real ghost hunters to the property. Jersey Paranormal Investigations will tell ticket holders tales of their previous investigations followed by a mini ghost hunt with specialized equipment. Tickets are still available at press time. Buy now and be there by 7 p.m. on Friday.
Of course, the mill isn't only about thrills and chills. Visitors enjoy a unique peek into the past, with tours, artifacts and outbuildings to explore. Owned by a non-profit, the museum and surrounding village are meant to preserve the milling history and culture of Hunterdon County. Enjoy regular and rotating exhibits and a collection of over 40,000 items. Special events include Revolutionary and Civil War reenactments, blacksmith demonstrations and so much more.
The mill has been featured on the TV show, Ghost Hunters, and has even been the subject of a documentary (Ghosts of The Red Mill). See the chilling trailer, uploaded by YouTube user Mark Johnson: