Links to Historic Sawmills

Operating Water-Powered Sash and Muley Sawmills in North America

United States

Nichols-Colby Sawmill, Old Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts. A superb reconstruction of a New Hampshire 1830s-era sash sawmill. Wonderfully detailed drawings of the original Nichols-Colby sawmill near Bow, NH can be found at HABS-HAER and were the basis for building the mill at Old Sturbridge Village. Discussed in Penn, Theodore Z. and Parks, Roger. (1975). Nichols-Colby Sawmill in Bow, New Hampshire. IA: The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archaeology, 1 (1), 1-12.

Taylor Mill, Derry, New Hampshire. A reconstructed and operating sash sawmill owned by the state of New Hampshire. A working saw with original parts in a classic New England setting.

Hurd and Briggs Sawmill, Elma New York. Operating reproduction of a 19th century sash sawmill.

Historic Mill Creek Sawmill, Mackinac Island State Park, Michigan. Reproduction of a late 18th century sash sawmill drawing on surviving mill at the Henry Ford Museum .

Herrling Sawmill, Greenbush, Wisconsin. This reconstructed muley saw was opened in 2001 and is part of the Wade House historic site. Discussed in Knipping, Mark, "Cutting Edge History: Reconstructing the Herrling Sawmill," Wisconsin Magazine of History, 85 (Summer 2002), 20–31.

Hamer's Mill, Spring Mill State Park, Mitchell, Indiana. A restoration (or possibly a total reconstruction) of an early 19th century sash sawmill. Part of the Pioneer Village at Spring Mill State Park. Find a video here showing the sawmill in operation.

Leonard's Mills, Bradley, Maine. This 20th century replica of an early sash sawmill at the Maine Forest and Logging Museum is demonstrated occasionally (but runs at an agonizingly slow rate to prevent damage to the wood gearing and other power transmission components).

The Ledyard Up-down Sawmill, Ledyard, Connecticut. Well, we have to list ourselves here.

Bertolet Sawmill, Daniel Boone Homestead, Birdboro in eastern Pennsylvania. Mill was moved from Oley Valley to new a location and reconstructed in a state park based on the original mill ruins and information from Oliver Evans “The Young Mill-wright and Millers Guide”. Discussed in Dickey, John M. (1973). Restoration of the Bertolet Sawmill. Association for Preservation Technology Bulletin, 5(2), 155-161. Video of the saw in action can be seen here.

Canada

McDonald Brothers' Sawmill, Sherbrooke Village, Sherbrooke, Nova Scotia. Working replica of a sash sawmill powered by an overshot water wheel.

Kings Landing Sawmill, near Fredericton, New Brunswick. A reconstructed sash 1830s sawmill with an overshot water wheel and wooden gearing. Part of the Kings Landing Historical Settlement.

Beach's Sawmill, Upper Canada Village Heritage Park, Morrisburg, Ontario. An operating muley saw at the Upper Canada Village historic park.

O'Hara Sawmill, The O’Hara Mill Homestead, Madoc, Ontario. Restored 1850 sash sawmill powered by a turbine. Not clear how frequently the mill operates. A page on the website claims "The O’Hara Sawmill is reputed to be the only such water powered Frame Saw left in Ontario, and the only working one in North America." Um, no.

Other historic sawmills of interest

Chamberlin Mill, Woodstock, Connecticut. A community group is restoring this historic circular sawmill and bringing it to operating condition. Wonderful place to visit.

Scribner’s Mill, Harrison, Maine. Restoration of this sash mill and water source is ongoing.

The Old Mill Museum, Weston Vermont. A gristmill powered by a Tyler turbine. Also has surviving parts of an historic sash sawmill.

Handford Mills Museum, East Meredith, New York. An iron Fitz waterwheel powers a circular and woodworking equipment.

Hatch Mill, Marshfield, Massachusetts. Restoration is ongoing for this historic sawmill. A wonderful short film about Hatch's mill is available on YouTube.

Sanborn Mills Farm, Loudon, New Hampshire. An operating water-powered circular sawmill. Planning for a "recreation of a small version of the up-and-down saw".

Tripp Sawmill, Greenfield Village, Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan. A steam-driven sawmill purchased by Henry Ford in the late 1920s and moved to his Greenfield Village history museum. Not operating now, but was used in the construction of some of the Greenfield Village buildings. Discussed in Greuther, Mark (2004). Tripp's Sawmill, 1926. Technology and Culture, 45(4), 808-811.

Morningstar Mill, St. Catherines, Ontario. A reconstructed circular sawmill powered by a turbine.

Stover-Myers Sawmill, eastern Pennsylvania. The sawmill is adjacent to a grist mill that was in use until 1955.

Sutter’s Mill, Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, California. Replica of the sash sawmill that stood on the site associated with the California Gold Rush of the late 1840s.

Ledyard, Connecticut sites of interest

Ledyard Historical Society. The online photo album of the Ledyard Up-down Sawmill is obviously of particular interest.

The historic Nathan Lester House and Tool Museum is owned by the town of Ledyard and, like the Ledyard Up-down Sawmill, is administered by the Ledyard Historic District Commission.

Town of Ledyard, CT.