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Summer 2022

Testing the waters—the Lane Saw is back in action.

Volunteers Andy Quigley, Nate Rosebrooks, George French, and Leo Morrisette have achieved what some believed impossible. The Mill’s 19th century Lane# 1 saw is tentatively back in working order, effectively linked to its restored 1928 Studebaker engine for power! In the following months, the volunteer team will be making final adjustments and working on ways to present their work safely to the public.

To watch a video clip of the first lumber sawn at the restored mill, click here.

Muzzy Shingle Machine arrives at Chamberlin Mill
Andy Quigley saws first board at revitalized Chamberlin Mill.

New logways recently installed

"New oak logways have been installed to load logs into the Mill. This is almost the final step in making the sawmill fully functional again. Logs for this project were kindly donated by John and Susan Boland. Additional logs were salvaged from the Goodwin State Forest following a recent Spongy Moth infestation. Andy and Sue Quigley, Leo Morrisette, Nate Rosebrooks, and George French contributed labor for this installation--one more demonstration of the community volunteer effort behind Chamberlin Mill!

Photo 1: Andy & Sue Quigley take measurements for new logways. Photo 2: First log loaded on new logways.

CT Humanities Council awards planning grant

A $25,000 matching grant, received on July 1, will be used to develop an interpretative plan, preliminary to establishment of a permanent introductory exhibition for the Mill. It will be completed by end of 2023. Elisabeth Nevins of Seed Education Consulting (link) will coordinate this effort supported by Chamberlin Mill volunteers and relevant experts. Together, drawing on work initiated by the Mill’s Interpretation Group, with input from a range of potential stakeholders, they will research and assemble materials to tell the story of this unique cultural resource and its adaptation to environmental, technological, and other changes over time. The Mill has a rich collection of artifacts and machinery, mill worker diaries, deeds, and other documents and in the process of the grant will pursue further document collection. Since this is a working mill, exhibition planning will give special consideration to safety.

Project Director for this grant is Gail White Usher. Other volunteers are Dan Coughlin, George French, Tom Kelleher, Jean McClellan, Jeff Paul, Andy Quigley, Nate Rosebrooks, Caroline Sloat, and Myron Stachiw.

Chamberlin Mill, Inc. has a new president

After a ten-year run, Jean McClellan, Chamberlin Mill, Inc.’s first president, has stepped down from this position. The board of directors has appointed Gail White Usher to replace her. Gail is eminently qualified for this position, with broad experience in museum education, historical organization management and interpretation, and grant writing. She is the current chairperson of the Woodstock Historic District Commission and is a former president and long-serving board member of the Woodstock Historical Society. Gail is the Education Program Coordinator for Roseland Cottage in Woodstock and Arnold House in Lincoln, RI, both National Historic Landmark properties owned by Historic New England. Throughout her twenty-five-year career, Gail’s work has centered on engaging diverse audiences with New England’s history. In her former role as president of the Woodstock Historical Society, Gail was instrumental in early efforts to establish a long-term plan for preserving and maintaining Chamberlin Mill as a historic and educational resource for the region. Gail notes that Jean leaves huge shoes to fill. She looks forward to collaborating with the board and others on this next exciting and challenging work to share the story of Chamberlin Mill.

Jean McClellan will continue to serve on the Chamberlin Mill, Inc. board of directors and work on a variety of projects. She notes that this is a perfect juncture for leadership transition as the Mill moves from a period of stabilization and restoration to a future as a working museum. She adds that it has been an enormous pleasure to work with the incredibly dedicated and qualified team that has brought Chamberlin Mill to this point, and she looks forward to an exciting future as the site unfolds to serve its educational mission. She thanks all of the volunteers and Friends of Chamberlin Mill who have made what to some seemed an impossible venture possible; they have been one of the great joys of her life.

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