The Souris Mill engine is housed in a replica building along the street of the Homesteader’s Village. The engine, not only operated the mill in the pioneer community of Souris (first known as Plum Creek) but also turned the economy of that Manitoba town for many years. In the years ahead, the Souris Mill was to become one of the largest flour mills in Canada.
Squire Sowden, who was responsible for the building of the swinging bridge in Souris, wanted to build a mill. When George McCulloch and William Herriot arrived at Plum Creek in 1882 to see how the proposed mill was progressing, practically nothing had been accomplished. The machinery for the mill had been ordered from the firm of Goldie and McCulloch in Galt, Ontario. It had been delivered to Brandon in the fall of 1881 and left by the railway track abandoned. The Company had grown tired of a series of fruitless attempts as to the fate of the equipment and sent McCulloch and Herriot to find it. After building a shelter for the machinery in Brandon, the two men proceeded to Plum Creek. Here, they were impressed more by the possibilities for the proposed mill than by progress.
After looking at the material already assembled, McCulloch and Herriot decided to take the project on themselves. A large number of carpenters and workers were immediately dispatched and by the end of December 1882, the first mill in Souris was erected and ready for operation in February 1883. A few years after construction of the new mill, the 3 McCulloch sons – Hugh, Dick and Bill – were in charge of what was equal to the largest flour mill in Canada. The engine and flour mill ceased to operate in Souris around 1926 and was to remain idle until 1976. It is fully operational during Reunion with it’s 185 H.P., two cylinder engine which is powered by steam from a boiler outside. The boiler pressure is 120 lbs. per square inch. The large flywheel turns 75 times per minute. It weighs 7 tons and is 14.5 feet in diameter. The belt is made from 52 cowhides and is 3 layers thick. With a load on the mill, about 8.5 tons of coal is used in 24 hours, necessitating a fireman constantly. Output of the mill was 350 barrels of flour per 24 hour day, consuming 1600 bushels of wheat and producing 700 bags of flour.