Visitors to the Arcadia Mill Archaeological Site can now learn how lumber was processed in 19th century Milton without a tour guide due to a generous donation from local resident Ann F. Belleau. The Discovery Pavilion at the mill now has a sound box with six buttons triggering narration for an introduction and the five historical tools located there.
Roy Oberto, education coordinator for Arcadia Mill speaking at Friday's ribbon cutting of the pavilion, said with the donation, they were able to replace the old waterwheel, buy the sound post, make improvements to the sash saw and rail cart, and put in pavers. For an authentic look, Oberto said, "We used a chemical to visually age the wood." Oberto said, "This allows children to step into the past. There was no Wal-Mart. You didn't just throw a switch." Dr. Brenden Kelley, Interim Vice President for University Advancement of the University of West Florida, said, "I love Arcadia Mill for two reasons. One, my boys love running through the woods. Two, it does the important job of telling the story of this area." Kelley provided the voice to the sound box narration.
Belleau said she's been active in the area for many years with deep roots. "My grandmother was born here. I'm very happy to be a part of it."