Taylor Mill State Historic Site
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.
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 12 feet in length and 32 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.
This site is open on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month from 10 am to 4 pm beginning late May through mid-October. There is no charge to visit the mill. Demonstrations are available on these dates but are dependent upon the availability of water and wood. If no demonstration is planned the mill will still be open for tours on those Saturdays.
A newly installed parking area is available up the hill from the mill.
StaffA.J. Dupere – Urban Forester
Robert Spoerl – Caretaker
For more information: Contact the A.J Dupere, Urban Forestry Center at 45 Elwyn Road, Portsmouth, N.H. 03801-5701, telephone (603) 431-6774.
Additional InformationTaylor Sawmill - A Technical Exploration
Alexander Knight House Project
Timber Framers Guild
The Chester Bridge - NH Covered Bridge Project
Ballard State Forest Model