Our History

 

The mill and its millpond were donated first by the Kent family and then by its later owners James and Esther Aldrich, in memory of their son, James Aldrich , Jr.  The Aldrich Memorial Association -- now operating as The Robinson Sawmill -- was established as a 501(C)3 non-profit in 1973 by a group of community volunteers interested in preserving and continuing to use the Mill.  

 

When the Mill was constructed by Joel Robinson in 1803, it was powered by an overshot water wheel.  Lumber was cut by an “up-and-down” saw.  This early technology was later replaced by a water-driven turbine powering a circular saw.  In the twentieth century, the power source was an internal combustion engine; but the turbine was left in place and has been restored largely through the efforts of local volunteers.  Still in operation is the circular saw and its carriage, manufactured in Montpelier’s Lane Shops over a hundred years ago. 

 

The Robinson Sawmill has been in more or less continuous operation for over 200 years.  Until recent years it was a viable commercial entity and now provides a compelling reminder of a time when a number of small mills and “factories” supplied much of what was needed in small hill communities like Calais.

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