Constructed in 1892 by Orson and Robert Ritchie, Ritchie Mill is the oldest surviving flour mill in the province of Alberta. Originally known as the Edmonton Milling Company, it was built at the end of the Calgary-Edmonton rail line (the aptly named ‘End of Steel’) on the south side of the North Saskatchewan river.
It employed steel rollers to mill harder grain than was possible with the more common stone rollers of the time, which quickly became pitted trying to grind hard prairie wheat.
Mr. Ritchie was a prominent citizen. At the turn of the century he was one of a committee that enabled Strathcona’s incorporation as a town. In December of 1900, he was elected as the second mayor of Strathcona. At this time, mayors only served a one-year term. In 1904, he served on the Strathcona Rink Association which raised enough money to build the town’s first covered ice hockey rink. He was also one of the first automobile owners in town.
Ritchie sold the flour mill in 1912 to the Northwest Mill and Feed Company, who continued operating the flour mill until 1948. It was then converted into the feed mill and continued that way until the mid ’70s. Empty for many years, it has now been refurbished and serves as home for a restaurant and law offices.