The structural work on the mill building itself continues with no big problems. The walls of the main building are jacked up and some sills have been replaced. The shed-roofed part on the right (north) side has been straightened and is awaiting a new roof to be installed by the Carpenter’s Boatshop crew. A crew of our volunteers have put on new fascia boards and got the old sliding doors moving again. New concrete footings around the turbine area have been poured. Some posts that were no longer serving any purpose were removed. Other posts made from old beams were added in places that would not interfere with the route of the power shafts and pulleys.
To access the undercroft area easily, our structural contractors Ed Blaiklock and Audra Ziobro built a staircase down to the ledge below the mill. This opened up a whole new view of the lower level. We were wondering how to safely show this area to the public. We had talked about Plexiglas floors and other viewing ports but did not come up with anything that really worked. Then this staircase showed up and the answer was clear. We now are contemplating building a permanent version of the current stair that would lead to an elevated catwalk running over to the turbine area.
Related to the catwalk is another new discovery. While working on the back (west) wall, Ed and Audra noticed a section framed in modern 2×4 material. Craig Leeman (former Poole’s employee) happened to be there and told us there used to be a sliding door there. He had removed it and filled in the wall. We now might run the catwalk over to that spot and have an exit to the park out behind the mill. This answered a number of questions for us. The area below the mill has some plastered walls so this was obviously a work area but we did not know how people and product got in and out. Now we know. I wish we knew what was being made down there. On the subject of new discoveries, it was fun when Audra found an Indian Head penny dated 1863 in the west wall.
The window shed warehouse is now gone, as specified in the sales agreement. Ron Poland did a real nice job of removing the building and then cleaning up the area when he was done. This now opens up more space for the campers used by the elver fishermen in the spring.
The latest attempt at applying for a spot on the National Register of Historic Places was sent in to the state office. It has already been returned with many helpful comments. The three person team writing it are now redrafting the document. This has been in process for over a year but has really helped us nail down the uses and dates of the operation at the mill.