Mill – Franz Rotter

GPS: 49°49'10.020"N 17°42'59.760"E – map


The oldest mentions of the local mill date back from the first half of the 17th century in the polyptych of the Vikštejn estate. The John's Mill (called Nové Těchanovice Mill) had two millstones, and the miller was obliged to annually pay to the landlord six talers and also to fatten two hogs. During the 18th century, the mill passed into the hands of the Rotters. The mill was owned by this traditional miller family about another 100 years.


In 1801, Josef Rotter took over the mill, to which at that time belonged many land. After him, the mill was owned by Franz Rotter, who held it until 1840. And it was Franz Rotter who before 1830 had started to extract slate on the opposite bank of the Moravice river in Zálužné. The resulting heap still stands on the left bank, about 250 meters below the bridge.


One of the later owners of the mill, Augustin Mar, tragically died during slate mining. After his death, the mine was bought by Gerlich, an entrepreneur from Odry. He sold off the land and property belonging to the mill and transformed the mill into a facility processing wool and cloth products from his own drapery factory in Odry. The facility was managed by master Wagner. Gerlich owned it until 1906, when he sold it to the miller Emanuel Kaschuba. Kaschuba then again rebuilt it into a mill and operated it until the First World War. Then he passed it on his son of the same name, who managed to keep the mill quite profitable. Therefore, Emanuel Kaschuba could afford to rebuild the entire mill into a modern factory with two mill wheels and a grinding unit even during the economic crisis in 1930 and 1931. Moreover, on the land of the mill, he built a new dwelling house No. 31, boarding house No. 32, and gamekeeper's lodge No. 29 not far above the mill weir. His family lived there until 1946, when it was expelled to Germany. In 1945, the state appointed Karel Škrobánek as the mill administrator, who ran it until the mill was nationalized after the communist coup in February 1948. Škrobánek then worked as a labourer in a local slate mine. Soon after the nationalization, the operation of the mill was stopped and the two-storey mill building then served as a warehouse for some time. Currently, the former mill serves for recreational purposes.


The village of Zálužné and the local Nittmann's Mine are linked to the fate of one remarkable person. It is American painter Tim Allen, who lives and works in Putney, Vermont, USA, whose great-great-great-grandfather once worked in the Nittmann's Mill.  At the end of the 1850s, miner Karl Krupitza, his wife Terezie, and their two daughters moved to Zálužné from Rosice u Brna. The family lived in the now demolished renting house (berghaus No. 24) standing on the right behind the bridge along the road to Nové Těchanovice. He worked as a miner in the Nittmann's Mine. His younger daughter, Anna, was unmarried and worked in the local mill. In 1874, she gave birth to her daughter Marie, and after four years on 3 March 1878, she had another child, son Alois. In neither case, Anna stated the father's name. After graduating from elementary school in Nové Těchanovice, young Alois Krupitza became a shoemaker and opened a shop in Budišov (today's Budišov nad Budišovkou). He married Marie Schwarz, a daughter of a local weaver, and the couple had a daughter Anna in 1905. Seven years later, they all immigrated to the United States. Tim Allen is a grandson of Anna Krupitz. In 2009, he went to Europe, and on 12 May he also visited Zálužné. He was looking for the birthplace of his progenitor, shoemaker Alois Krupitza. The central motif of Tim's paintings are trees, especially birch trees. There is plenty of them in Vermont's forests, and Tim says that birch trees have always fascinated him. In 2009, when standing on a birch-covered heap of the old Nittmann's Mine, Tim wondered whether this internal relationship with birch trees is somehow "encoded" in the genes of his ancestors who lived and worked here.

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