With a historical footprint cemented in time, the Buda Mill and Grain no longer produces cotton and feed for dairy cows as in days gone by.
What’s been reborn, however, is a new era with a new modern, yet antique shell where people can still get together and socialize.
Dodi Ellis, one of the current owners of The Buda Mill and Grain, said the site has “been part of Buda’s collective memory dating back to the 1890s.”
“The mill was traditionally zoned industrial and we’ve held onto the original footprint of the old barns, maintaining the industrial aesthetics of metal buildings, steel and concrete but now with a modern interpretation,” Ellis said.
Ellis said a committee of local Farmers Alliance members founded the mill as the first cotton gin in Buda originally in the 1890s before Henry Barton and Will Barber purchased it in 1911.
Barton and Barber purchased the site for a mere $7,000, which in today’s standards would equate to approximately $173,000.
Ellis said that in 1914, the Buda Milling Co. built the present brick cotton gin from bricks collected from Butler Brick Co. after the original gin burned down.
Ellis said that milling services were added in the 1930s to help provide feed for dairy farmers. They continued to expand under new ownership with additional equipment such as barns, grain elevators and grain silos.
Ellis said her grandfather, Cecil Ruby, purchased the Mill in 1963, which was then passed on to Gay Dahlstrom, her mother, who held on to the property.
In 2011, Ellis and her son, Saenger, took over the site in order to revitalize the Mill.
“Taking care of a piece of Buda’s history was really important to my mother,” Ellis said. “The Dahlstrom family continues Gay’s vision of protecting the past and re-interpreting what the Mill can offer the surrounding community by still being a place where locals come together.”
Ellis said the Buda Mill and Grain encompasses the mentality of live, work and play in Buda. The site offers smaller, local shops, restaurants and boutiques rather than large corporate entities, to keep Buda residents from having to drive to Austin.
“We hear more and more people say how tired they are of driving in the congestion of I-35 and want to just stay in town,” Ellis said. “We wanted to create a tenant mix that keeps people coming together in Buda.”
Currently the Buda Mill and Grain is home to a handful of locally owned businesses, including Assemblage Contemporary Craftsman Gallery and several others.
“It was very important to us to have local businesses open their doors at Buda Mill and Grain,” Ellis said “That’s what people want to put their money into and not just the large national chains.”
Okami Ramen, a 1,130 square foot restaurant, is scheduled to join the Buda Mill and Grain family and open its doors in late fall or early winter.
Ellis said the vision and future goals of the Buda Mill and Grain are to preserve the unique piece of history the site represents.
She hopes to also create a community destination where residents and visitors alike can meet up for a yoga class, grab a cup of coffee, or just relax with friends and family.
“BM&G has withstood the test of time,” Ellis said .“The current renovation will ensure that the property sustains its place in Buda’s history – a destination in historic downtown Buda, Texa, with the intention of bringing the community together to savor good food and wine, shop locally and meet up with friends.”