Mill Restoration Project

Obadiah LaTourette Grist and Saw Mill Restoration Project - page 2

Progress on the west side, March 30, 2007.

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One of the French Burr stones at the mill.

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Currently installed Bartley turbines.

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The Cranson Codring Polishing & Separating machine.

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Ideal bolters.

In 1992, the firm of Watson and Henry estimated that the restoration would cost $1.5 to $2.2 million at 1992 construction costs. Donations from individuals and $40,000 from the Leavens Foundation funded the restoration in the early 1990ís and then in 1996, local philanthropist Jack Borgenicht offered the Land Trust $50,000 a year for three years if we could match it. With this pledge and other donations we were able to secure 1996 and 1997 New Jersey Historic Trust grants, followed by grants from the Community Development program, the Morris County Historic Preservation Trust Fund and the New Jersey Historic Trust Emergency Grant program. As of January, 2014, we have spent $614,948 ($342,168 public funds and $272,780 private funds) and have completed at least 75% or more of the work needed.

Once the Land Trust purchased the mill, the first order of business was to cover the deteriorating roof and east wall with a giant blue tarp, pieces of which can still be found in remote corners of the mill. The next job was to remove all debris, rotted building material and items left by various tenants. Ultimately 80 tons of debris were hauled away. Cribbing, shoring and shear walls were then installed to make the work area safer and to enable volunteers to move machines which were in precarious positions. Steel I-beams and steel cable come-a-longs were also utilized and later removed when no longer needed. After a mortar analysis of the existing mortar was performed, a large hole in the east wall stone foundation was repaired and the northeast corner foundation and intake arch were restored. In later years, the rest of the stone foundation was restored by removing modern cement patches, replacing missing stones and re-pointing the walls with a mortar mix which matched the original proportions.

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© 2015 Washington Township Land Trust.