The Ledyard Up-Down Sawmill  1877-today

The Ledyard Up-Down sawmill is one of the few remaining examples in North America of a 19th century sash sawmill.  Even when it was first operated by Israel Brown in the 1870s it was old-fashioned.  By that time most of the old style sash, or up-and-down sawmills, had worn out or had been replaced by the newer, more efficient circular saw technology.  

The mill that Israel built on Lee's Brook and operated was one of several Brown family sawmills in Ledyard in the mid-late 1800s.  Israel's brothers Aaron and Seth owned and ran the old Ayers Mill complex a few miles north of Lee's Brook, and Israel's uncle Avery W. Brown purchased in 1838 a sawmill a half mile upstream on Lee's Brook that he operated into the 1870s.  Learn more about the Brown Family sawmills.

Today the Ledyard Up-Down sawmill provides a glimpse into the last days of an old technology that was an important part of the growth of the European colonies in North America and in the young United States.  We are fortunate that interested and dedicated townspeople of Ledyard recognized the value and rarity of the mill and saved it in the 1960s.

photo Cynda Warren Joyce