Recreating Ticonderoga’s 1756 French Water-Powered Sawmill
The idea to recreate the 18th century French sawmill that was built in 1756 along the north bank of the LaChute River in Ticonderoga to cut timbers needed for the construction of Fort Carillon, is a concept first discussed in the early 1980’s. The vision of recreating the sawmill appears in the Lane/Frenchman conceptual drawings in the ‘80’s and resurfaced in 2009 through the work of Egret Communications and the Ticonderoga Quality Destination group formed by ROOST. Upon the approval of the Ticonderoga Master Plan that included the sawmill project by the Ticonderoga Town Board, the Reconstruction of the 18th Century French Sawmill took on new life with broad support from the Town, PRIDE of Ticonderoga, the Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance and the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce.
Ticonderoga plans to use the Sawmill to leverage other activities through the Timber Framers Guild and both traditional and contemporary artists. The project will enhance the telling of the story of Ticonderoga’s industrial history along the LaChute River, its historic downtown, and the connection with Fort Ticonderoga. The Fort’s over 70,000 visitors will be drawn to this downtown destination and will generate more demand for lodging, dining, and retail, resulting in increased revenues for existing businesses. The Sawmill will generate 10 new jobs and will foster new tourism-related investment.
The Project’s Progress to Date
- The identification of the site for the reconstruction all of which is on property owned by the Town of Ticonderoga and located at Bicentennial Falls in the downtown near the original site of the 1756 sawmill.
- The completion of a Phase I and Phase II of the archaeology survey by Landmark Archaeology, Inc. required by the New York State Office of Historic Preservation.
- We have obtained funding through the Clinton and Essex Key Project Advancement 2011 EPF and the CFA process for the research and design component of the project. Rondout Woodworking Inc. in Saugerties, New York who has consulted for over three years on a volunteer basis and will conduct extensive research in order to accurately replicate the sawmill. Other work includes the design of the Sawmill to include layout of the site, size and configuration of the mill building and ancillary structures, layout and type of machinery, rough positions and elevations of the watercourses and establishment of visitor flow patterns, construction drawings, and development of the interpretive plan, operational guidelines and maintenance program.
- The completion of A Feasible Plan for the Sustainable Operation of the Reconstructed French Sawmill by Egret Communications, March 2010. This 24-page document includes parameters for designing the operation, lumber economics, visitor revenue, employee position descriptions and responsibilities, staffing, operation costs and revenues, options for entity to operate, relationship between operational entity and the Town of Ticonderoga.
- Identification of partners to include working with the Timber Framers Guild to design, budget, and construct the working replica alongside Rondout Woodworking Inc., the Town of Ticonderoga, PRIDE of Ticonderoga, Chamber of Commerce, local and regional schools and other community-based organizations.