Mate Friscic's watermill
Mate Friščić, who was born in 1897, owned the watermill. He passed the milling master's exam in Zagreb in 1934. Mate became its owner after he had bought the property and watermill from his brother Roko Friščić in 1928. After Mate Friščić had died, the watermill was run by his son Stjepan and daughter-in-law Ana, who were helped out by the grandchildren. Today a grandson, Krešimir Friščić, runs the watermill. Around 1947 the watermill was reconstructed - instead of the water wheel, a large pool was built and onto its bed a “Francis” water turbine was installed. The parts for the turbine power plant were bought in the Petar Križaj Mechanical Engineering Workshop in Ludbreg.
After the water supply system had been reconstructed in Ivanec, the water level in the Bistrica stream dropped significantly, so that an electromotor, which enables the functioning of the watermill even today, needed to be installed to power the watermill. The current transfer ratio enabled the same speed of the mill stone rotation as it used to be before when the watermill was powered by water, which was important in order to maintain the same flour quality.
Technical minutes and findings of the District Head from 1929, which were approved in Ivanec on 18th March 1930, specify in detail how the watermill, its water resources as well as hydro construction devices were to be used and they also contain an attached sketch. The watermill provided the services of grinding wheat, but during the winter months it was used to process walnuts, oak nuts or pumpkin seeds for the production of pumpkin seed oil. The owner had his own horse-drawn cart, which was used by his son Stjepan to collect wheat around villages and inhabited places (Stažnjevec, Greda, Jurketinec, Vidovec, Cerje, etc.).
In the watermill there was a room (“Melinska soba”) which was 8x6m large and where the so-called “Partije” (gatherings) of people, who brought goods to be processed, used to take place. To make time pass faster while waiting, they sang, played cards or a game called “Rihter”. Autochthonous wine and food products (sausages, bacon, ham, vine, etc.) were always offered to guests. In the evenings, local residents, especially young men and women, would gather there.
This watermill definitely deserves special attention because the first bowling alley in Ivanec was located there as well as a catering establishment called “Gostiona” “Planinaru” kuglana” (Mountain Climber's Inn and Bowling Alley), which also housed a grocery store. The bowling alley had a small house at the end of the lane for a person whose task was to prepare pins and return bowling balls to the beginning of the lane along an angled concrete channel. We can see the remains of the bowling alley even today. The exact image of the past times can be seen in photo-documentation from the beginning of the 20th century. According to findings and sources, rich social life of the upper part of Ivanec took place at that location. The watermill represented a quality connection in the synergy of economic and general social activities of our region.
The watermill house exists even today along with its architectonical and mechanical traces - the remains of milling activities on the Bistrica Stream. Today's owners aspire and wish to revitalise and valorise the watermill in order to provide a high-quality cultural, economic and touristic offer of the town of Ivanec.
Materials and information provided by Krešimir Friščić.