Only grist mill
between Niagara and Genesee Rivers. Burned by the British on Christmas
Van Horn came to what is now the Town of Newfane in 1812. He took
over the building of grist and saw mills from Levi Ellis and the tiny
settlement became known as “Van Horn’s Mills.” The
British targeted these particular mills because they believed they
were put into service to aid the U.S. government and military. James
Van Horn returned to Newfane in 1817 and rebuilt the mills and in
1823 built the impressive brick residence that still stands today.
The mills were again destroyed by fire in 1839, rebuilt again and
then finally torn down in 1894. They were located on Eighteen Mile
Creek approximately below where the old railroad bridge now crosses.
The Van Horn Mansion was built in 1823 by James Van Horn. It is located
on the Lockport-Olcott Road in the hamlet of Burt. The home remained
in the Van Horn family until 1910. For the next forty years different
families owned the property. In 1949 it was turned into the Green
Acres Restaurant until 1959. It was then converted into apartments.
In 1987 the property was acquired by the Newfane Historical Society
which has restored it back to its 19th century appearance. It is open
on Sunday afternoons from 2 to 4 p.m. for tours.