In prehistoric times, crude mills made of two stones were used to crush grain for food. Over thousands of years as civilizations developed all over the world, mills became more complex and varied. Some mills were run by water power. Others were powered by wind, animals or human labor.
In the 1830s, the first pioneer settlers in Iowa began to build mills along streams and rivers. They built grist mills which ground grain for food. They also needed saw mills to cut logs into boards.
The Old Sawmill was one of the first mills built in the Waterloo area in 1854. It was torn down in 1906.