Buel Barnes had owned a flourmill on the canal towpath, and in 1856 built the “Lower Mills”, or the “Hartland Mills”, dealing in wholesale and retail sales.
In 1887 he began shipping his flour in barrels, as cooper George Smith was making a very tight, smooth barrel, fastened with a locking rack-hoop, requiring no nails. Barnes was one of the oldest millers in the state, having been in business since 1842, making a high grade of family flour.
After Barnes died in 1896 the mill was operated by John F. Little & Son, and was later purchased by the Thompson Milling Company of Lockport, advertising Angelus and Pride of Niagara flours, and Snow White Pastry flour.
With the advent of new technology and new methods of milling, the mill had been closed for about 40 years. The roof was allowed to deteriorate and eventually the rest of the building started falling apart. Demolition was requested by neighbors for fear of safety of the children, which was done in 1988.