Created By: PocketSights Ruthmere Tours
Havilah Beardsley was trained as a physician, but his real passion was business. He first came to Elkhart because he saw the business potential in the abundance of water power here. His first ventures were mills. He started by building a corn mill at the mouth of Christiana Creek. This was followed by a sawmill close by. Also on the creek, north and east of here, Beardsley built a linseed oil mill, a woolen factory and public carding machines that prepared wool and other fiber for spinning. Beardsley was the right man in the right place at the right time. These mills made much needed lumber and other products more readily available, and they were important in attracting new settlers to the area. In the 1840s, Havilah dug a canal, or race from Christiana Creek to the Saint Joseph River bluffs and in 1845 built the Beardsley flour mill (about where you will see the green house on the riverside just a few yards from the monument.) Then a few years later, a bit downstream, he built Indiana’s second paper mill. In addition to the Mills, Beardsley ran rope ferries across the river, and later helped bring the railroad to town. He was a tireless, innovative entrepreneur. Within a few short years, Havilah Beardsley had put in place important incentives for the growth of the town that was to rise on the south side of the river. He truly was the father of Elkhart.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Elkhart's Beardsley Tour (Blue Tour)