Lanterman’s Mill. Lanterman Falls. The Lanterman Bridge, replacing an earlier bridge in 1920 and over which US 62 passes, spans the Mill Creek gorge. These are some of the most visited and photographed sites in Youngstown. I spent hours during high school and college hiking the trails in the park and one of my favorite views was looking either upstream toward the falls, or downstream from the Mill, with the gorgeous Lanterman Bridge framing these vistas.
We have German Lanterman to thank for the name and the mill that is a centerpiece of this part of Mill Creek Metropark. His story is of one of the early families to settle the Youngstown area and prosper in the Mahoning Valley.
Lanterman’s parents, Peter and Elizabeth Lanterman moved from Washington County, Pennsylvania to Austintown township in 1802. German was one of six children, born February 6, 1814 in Austintown, where his father ran a successful coal mining operation, the Leadville mine.
German married Sally Ann Woods on July 12, 1842. A daughter, Florence was born in 1843, with a son, John, following in 1844. In 1869, Florence married Colonel L . T. Foster, who owned a nearby farm and mining operation, and after whom Fosterville is named. Florence died four years later.
German and Sally acquired a large tract of land surrounding the falls that would bear his name. Lanterman was already a success, farming and dealing horses. A logging mill had existed beside the falls dating back to 1799, operated by Isaac Powers and Phineas Hill. In 1823, Eli Baldwin replaced the mill with a grist mill, which he operated until it was washed away in a flood in 1843.
German Lanterman built a new, larger mill with three sets of grinding stones, powered by an overshot wheel, like that presently in use. The business was highly successful for many years, requiring the work of 80 men, a large workforce for this period. It ground corn, wheat, and buckwheat. It was later converted to turbines. Roller mills eventually replaced mills of this type, being more efficient and cheaper to operate. The mill closed in 1888, and was sold to the newly formed Mill Creek Park in 1892.
German Lanterman only outlived his mill by a year, dying of Bright’s Disease on January 12, 1889, just short of 75 years old. Sally survived him, living until 1913. Like many early Youngstown residents, they are buried in Oak Hill Cemetery. But their name lives on at one of the most loved sites in Youngstown.