Until the mid-1800s, gristmills in New Mexico were small, primitive, difficult to use, containing two rotating grinding stones powered by water.
Called “molinos” in Spanish, early gristmills were most often used to grind the hearty corn grown to make tortillas and tamales. By 1850, wheat flour crept into the local consciousness, and as the population of Mora County grew, farmers added wheat to their crops. The founding of Fort Union increased demand for wheat even more. New Mexico was hooked. Flour became local king.