Tower Quest

Free Visitor's Guide

Taylor Sawmill

             

The 200-year old "Taylor Up and Down Sawmill" is the property of the State of New Hampshire and is cooperatively maintained and run by the Division of Parks and Recreation and the Division of Forests and Lands Planning and Community Forestry Bureau

Staff:
A.J. Dupere – Community Forester
Robert Spoerl – Caretaker

***ALERT:  Ongoing construction and restoration work in progress at the Taylor Mill.  The mill will be open,
on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays, but demonstrations of operations may be affected by the projects, availability of water and wood.***

The Taylor Sawmill is situated on the 71-acre Ballard State Forest in Derry, New Hampshire. Robert Taylor, for whom the mill is named, bought the property in 1799 and began operating an "up and down" sawmill similar to the current one about 1805. We are not sure of exactly when this mill stopped running. 

The original mill, for the most part, had been sold for scrap when Ernest R. Ballard purchased the land in 1939. Mr. Ballard searched extensively over much of New England for another "up and down" sawmill and finally found one in Sandown, New Hampshire owned by Dan Hoit. The mill had been disassembled fifty years earlier and was stored under a barn. Mr. Ballard paid $180 for it. He and his wife spent two years assembling it and finding the necessary parts to put it in operating condition.

Unable to get an original water wheel and learning of the astronomical expense of getting another built by hand, Mr. Ballard purchased a water wheel from a firm in Hanover, Pennsylvania, the Fitz Water Company, for $3,000. The wheel was 6 feet wide, 12 feet in diameter, weighed about 1,000 pounds, and had 40 buckets.

The capacity of this sawmill is limited to logs 10 feet in length and 28 inches in diameter. The mill operates at about 60 strokes per minute. The log carriage feeds the saw at about 3/8 inch per stroke. Records indicate that other up and down sawmills were capable of sawing logs up to 38 feet in length with a diameter substantially larger than the capacity of the Taylor Mill.

This entire property, including the sawmill, the house nearby, and 71 acres of land, were very generously donated to the State of New Hampshire in 1953 by Mr. Ballard.

For more information: Contact the A.J Dupere, Urban Forestry Center at 45 Elwyn Road, Portsmouth, N.H. 03801-5701, telephone (603) 431-6774.