Mill Restoration Project

Obadiah LaTourette Grist and Saw Mill Restoration Project - page 3

Progress on the west side, March 30, 2007.

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Upstream view of turbine raceway.

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Front of building undergoing repair.

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Inside view before the windows were installed.

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Damaged northeast corner.

Once the east wall stone foundation was restored, all rotted east wall siding, posts and beams were removed, as was the rotted roof framing on the east side of the mill. The reconstruction of the east wall was a long and arduous process, involving many volunteers, and once it was completed attention centered on the interior structural support. Rotted posts, beams, floor joists and flooring were removed and replaced on each of the four levels of the 1750 section of the 10,500 sq. ft. building. The wood was milled and fabricated locally from trees donated by developers and residents, and transported gratis by Harrington Construction. Original material was preserved wherever possible and new material joined with scarf joints and other construction methods, following the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Historic Restoration.

After the blizzard of 1996 caused the soffit to fall off the front of the roof, the slate roof was removed, a new roof and soffit installed and trim was repaired and painted. Asbestos siding was removed from the addition and the siding underneath was repaired and stained. Many of the windows in both sections of the mill were restored and sheathing was installed on the east and west walls of the 1750 section, and partially on the north wall. The latest work involved rebuilding a collapsed retaining wall.

Many aren’t aware that there is an apartment in the mill. Research states that it was probably created shortly after 1944, by F.M. Blass; principal of Eastern Oxygen Therapy, Inc. He occupied and operated his practice out of the mill and was arrested for “quackery”. Though he passed away in the 1960’s, his first wife “remains” with us. A few years ago the American Medical Association reached out to us requesting his papers as they have determined there may be some significance to his work.

The apartment was recently renovated, the electrical updated, and the bathroom enlarged. Materials and fixtures reclaimed from the Roerich house were used including a claw foot tub, the kitchen sink, and period wainscoting that has been reinstalled in the bathroom and kitchen and repurposed to make kitchen cabinets. The work was performed by talented volunteers whose efforts have yielded a simple, updated living space and a bathroom reminiscent of the 1930’s. This renovation allows someone to be on premise 24/7 and meet the goal of generating income for the Land Trust.

Since 1992, with donations from individuals like you, the Leavens Foundation, local philanthropist Jack Borgenicht, and grants from the NJ Historic Trust, the Community Development Program, and the Morris County Historic Preservation Trust Fund, we have completed about 75% of the restoration.

The Land Trust is embarking on the next critical step in restoration, which is to identify the cause and fix the reoccurring crack in the intake arch, completion of the north wall sheathing and installation of siding on the east, north, and west walls of the original 1750 section along with the last eight windows and the reinstallation of the original stabilizing tie rods.  This requires the work of an engineer, along with masonry and construction professionals.

This is where YOU, the reader come in. It is your donation that keeps the Land Trust moving forward with this important restoration. Without your help, it can’t be done.

Since 1750, “The Mill” has stood in the center of Long Valley and was the center of community activity and economic stability. That’s 265 years! Today it stands today as the symbolic heart of our town’s proud history. Please share your pride through your donation for living in one of New Jersey’s most beautiful and historic communities and help us preserve the past for our future.

Land Trust Membership and Donation Application form

Mill tours are given most Saturdays from 10am to 2pm, and always by appointment.

Contact or visit us at:

Washington Township Land Trust
P.O. Box
4 12 East Mill Road
Long Valley, NJ 07853
908-876-5986
wtlandtrust@gmail.com

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© 2015 Washington Township Land Trust.