There are many kinds of sawmills, but none has survived the waters as Ledyard Up-and-Down Sawmill did.
Previously known as Main Sawmill, Ledyard Up-and-Down Sawmill is an epitome of both rich history and vibrant culture. Located within the small town of Ledyard, Connecticut in the United States, this rare gem has survived the waters – having been recreated by current owners, Ledyard’s citizens and Historic District Commission, with its original power source and its original equipment.
Now, here are some things that make Ledyard Up-and-Down Sawmill even rarer:
- Its 19th century feel. The up-and-down sawmill was originally water-powered. The place is also described to be very nostalgic – with locals and tourists being able hear the rasping of saws cutting through lumber echoing from the pond beside the water dam nearby.
- Its historical equipment. Considered a key feature in the sawmill, the place mainly use a six-feet-long saw blade – straight and mounted vertically in a wooden frame, unlike today’s circular saws.
- Its up-and-down process. Said to have a reciprocating movement, the wooden frame (in which the saw blade is mounted) is connected to a section on the flywheel crank and bottom shaft of the mill’s lower level via a wooden arm. As the water from the dam is used to power up the whole mechanism, the wooden frame will move up and down. It will also cut downwards, while a wooden carriage with the lumber moves forward upwards.
Moreover, Ledyard Up-and-Down Sawmill do not only showcase its awesome historical and cultural significance. It also showcases great unity among volunteers who maintain the place and help keep it safe for locals and tourists alike. Even more so, you can explore the whole place by yourself or experience firsthand what it’s like to work in a sawmill – from harvesting lumber, cutting the lumber into different sizes, classifying the cut lumber into different purposes, and finishing various wood products.
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Other attractions include:
- Lane Shingle Mill – This is also originally water-powered, but is now converted to run via gasoline engine.
- Blacksmith Shop – This is where you can find various portraits of how saws and other tools are made in the early years of Ledyard Up-and-Down Sawmill, as well as the actual items.
- Ice Harvesting – This is where you can also experience firsthand what it’s like to harvest, move, cut, and process ice – just like how people do back then and even now.