Street Address
Sawmill Park
Ledyard, CT 06339
Mailing Address
34R Tanager Lane
Gales Ferry, CT 06335
Hours
April and May, and October and November
The sawmill is operating and open to the public
Saturday1 PM - 4 PM
Operation subject to water level in the pond.
Admissions
There is no admission charge. Schools can contact the Ledyard Historic District Commission (860- 464-8740) to arrange class visits during the week.
Services
Group Tours
Staff
Warren Dolphin, Volunteer webmaster
Steve Tomichek, Volunteer
Alan Ganong, Volunteer
Bill Jacobik, Volunteer
Rodney Wells, Volunteer
Brian Dirlams, Volunteer
Scott Weeks, Volunteer Blacksmith
Bill Fossum, Ledyard Historic District Commission Liaison
phone: 860-464-2575
Ryan O'Connell, Volunteer

Description

The currently operating sash-type sawmill (up and down or reciprocating motion versus a spinning circular blade) with its horizontal iron water turbine and gears dates from about 1870, but there were sawmills on the site at Lee's Brook Pond in Ledyard, CT long before then. There were references to a mill pond here from as early as the 1740s. A sawmill belonging to Nathaniel Brown II and Increase B. Stoddard stood on this site in the late 1790s. The mill was never a large commercial venture supplying lumber to distant cities as found in the mill towns of northern New England. Rather it was a country mill, serving the farms and settlements within a convenient hauling distance by horse and wagon. Most likely, the early mills on this site had a vertical wooden water wheel to drive the machinery, although it is not known whether the wheel was an over- or under-shot type. However, there are some unconfirmed references to it originally being a flutter-type mill (like a paddle boat wheel which was driven by water flowing beneath it). Flutter wheels operate at higher revolutions per minute with low water heads than do a large, classic vertical wheels. Water wheels have the disadvantage of freezing in winter, making them only seasonal sources of power.

THe mill ceased operation in the late 1930's and sat derelict for many years. In conjunction with the national bicentennial in 1976, a group of volunteers restored the mill to operating conditions and rebuilt the blacksmith shop. SInce then the mill has been operated by volunteer staff who share a passion and interest in old technologies. Historic photos, explanations of how the sawthe saw's maintenance, a discussion of the properties of wood,. along with many other details can be viewed http://sites.google.com/site/ledyardsawmill/

History

The currently operating sash-type sawmill (up and down or reciprocating motion versus a spinning circular blade)) with its horizontal iron water turbine and gears dates from about 1870, but there were sawmills on the site at Lee's Brook Pond in Ledyard, CT long before then. There were references to a mill pond here from as early as the 1740s. A sawmill belonging to Nathaniel Brown II and Increase B. Stoddard stood on this site in the late 1790s. The mill was never a large commercial venture supplying lumber to distant cities as found in the mill towns of northern New England. Rather it was a country mill, serving the farms and settlements within a convenient hauling distance by horse and wagon. Most likely, the early mills on this site had a vertical wooden water wheel to drive the machinery, although it is not known whether the wheel was an over- or under-shot type. However, there are some unconfirmed references to it originally being a flutter-type mill (like a paddle boat wheel which was driven by water flowing beneath it). Flutter wheels operate at higher revolutions per minute with low water heads than do a large, classic vertical wheels. Water wheels have the disadvantage of freezing in winter, making them only seasonal sources of power.
Please website for much more detail.

Artifacts Collections

1. An operating water powered 19th century restored up and down sash-type sawmill on original site with dam and sluiceways
2. A Lane shingle mill
3. Ice harvesting equipment
4. A small country-style operating blacksmith shop with one forge
5. A partially restored grist mill

Services

Group Tours