- Owen & Carleen Sabin, second generation owners of an old
1864 working Grist & Cider Mill in Yankee Springs, Michigan came to live on the
mill property after selling their farm in 1984.
- Carleen's parents Neal & Marion Cook
first generation millers, asked them to come to the mill and to live in the
Bowen's House that had been recently purchased after coming up for foreclosure.
- The house was in dire need of
restoration. It had been remodeled over and over through the years. Most of the
old woodwork was removed and the plaster was falling off the walls.
- The Sabin's restored the house during
the 13 years they lived there and purchased the house from Carleen's mother
after the death of her father Neal H. Cook in 1989.
- In 1997 when Marion and her new
husband Ron retired, Owen & Carleen decided to purchase Historic Bowens Mills
and become second generation millers. Since they had dedicated so much of their
lives to the mill and all of the restoration projects, there was no question in
their minds what they wanted to do when the opportunity arrived.
- In 1998, their first year, an artisan
woodworking shop was added to the mill property. It was built out of lumber
from a barn that had blown down in Grandville, MI.
- In 1999 the second year, the water
wheel project called "Neal's Dream" was completed with the help of the Fork
River Free Trappers and many other friends and family volunteers.
- 2001 the Miller built his wife "The
Gathering Place", a wonderful, huge, gambrel roof building that would be "key"
in the future of the Historical Park & Pioneer Farming Village. It houses a
unique gift shop and an enormous "great room" for large gatherings, concerts,
wedding receptions and festival exhibits.
- The split rail fence project was
started also that year. Hand split cedar rails from the Museum of the
Appalachia in Tennessee were carefully hauled home and put in place by the
Sabins. The fence adds to the ambiance and beauty of the park and will
eventually encircle the mill property.
- Mission Statement:
"Our Mission is to continue with the visions and dreams of our parents before
us and to add to that, more of our own. We feel our imaginations are unlimited
and that there are endless horizons of possibilities here. We would like to
keep alive the history of the Bowens and the Civil War Era. We feel it is also
our responsibility to provide a living diary of the first generation millers
Neal & Marion Cook and keep alive the memories that they created here for so
- In purchasing this State Historic
site, we have decided to dedicate ourselves to the continuance and future of
this old mill and to make it our life. We accept the heavy financial
responsibility that has been laid on our shoulders. As we press on and share in
the lifetime of the old mill, we pour out our lives for the joys of those who
visit here. We thrive on the energy we receive from the people and have learned
to value the help of others.
- We believe it is more than the love of
an old building and a place in time...
- it is fulfilling a dream, in the minds
eye, that God has given us."