Showing posts with label Preservation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Preservation. Show all posts

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tidal Mills defined by John Goff

John Goff author, historian, architectural historian, restoration architect and preservation consultant who lives and works in Salem, Massachusetts Contact
See him on youtube at 1630'3 Show

Tide Mill Institute's John Goff speaks about historic tide mills in Topsfield, Massachusetts.

From Article in Salem Gazette Tide Mill tours in and around Salem
I had a series of really interesting experiences this month. A writer named Ben Swenson from Virginia e-mailed me requesting a tour of historic tide mill sites in and around Salem. Some 20 years ago, a similar thing happened when David Plunkett, a historian and tide mill preservationist associated with the historic Eling Tide Mill in England, came to America to learn more about water-powered tide mills in Massachusetts. To share some of the fun from both these tours, let us now consider briefly "What Is A Tide Mill?" and some of the historic tide mills that once functioned in and near Salem long ago. See Iron Working in Early New England
What is a tide mill? The question "What is a Tide Mill" pops up frequently, because so little has yet been written or published concerning tide mills. The short answer is that a tide mill historically was any mill or arrangement of buildings and machines situated close to the ocean coast that derived some or all of its motive power from the action of Earth’s moon--and the ocean tides. Tide mills were once exceedingly common, but now are rare. To harness the tides, European, English and American tide mills typically contained a tidal mill pond that was often nothing more than a dammed-across cove or river mouth. Within the dam, a set of one-way opening wooden tide gates would be installed as a valve so that at flood or incoming tide, tide waters would automatically fill the tidal mill pond. Yet as the tide ebbed or dropped, the gates would shut, trapping the mill pond waters at their highest height and holding them for a period of time. At a lower tide, the waters were run off, and run out of the pond, used to turn waterwheels and machines. Tide mills functioned widely between about 1630 and 1930 in eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. In America, they were almost always timber framed heavy wooden buidings. They were used as grist-mills, saw-mills, and snuff-mills, perform a wide variety of tasks. For other tide mills definitions, see: Tide Mill Institute

Here in Salem, tide mills historically operated on the North River, South River and Forest River. Three old and rare tide mill features that can still be seen in Salem today are: 1) a French Buhr millstone set into the Washington Street sidewalk in front of the Daniel Low Building; 2) Mill and Pond streets that survive near Domino’s Pizza and "Mill Hill" overlooking Riley Plaza; and 3) the beautiful Leadworks site that has recently been remediated near the Marblehead town line on lower Lafayette Street and the Forest River. This site, formerly used to power the Gardner-Wyman gristmill and later Francis Peabody’s lead paint production facility, has an impressive curved stone retaining wall, once used as part of a mill tailrace.

Within a short driving distance, many additional historic tide mill sites can be seen and toured from the outside. These include: 1) the Slade Spice Tide Mill on the Revere Beach Parkway (Route 16) in Revere, MA; 2) the Friend Tide Mill site on the Bass River and near the Cummings Center on Route 62 in nearby Beverly (one of this site’s old granite millstones is now displayed on the Cummings Center property); 3) the site of the former Salem Iron Works in Danversport, MA; 4) a tide mill site in Manchester-by-the-Sea, and 5) a collection of tide mill sites and building(s) bordering Route 127 in the Annisquam section of Gloucester, MA. It is especially fortunate that many of the machines and features of the 1830s William Hodgkins Tide Mill opposite Goose Cove in the Annisquam area were well documented before the old mill was converted into a residence. Consequently, many photographs and architectural drawings showing the mill with many of its original parts can be accessed easily on the Internet, using the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) web site maintained by the Library of Congress. In the years ahead, let us hope that old New England tide mills attract even more interest. They provide excellent examples of early utilization of a free, renewable, and eco-friendly energy source that holds promise to provide more energy in the future.

Souther Tide Mill History Another Article by John on Tide Mills  Salem ties to some Quincys and tide mills
John also wrote a book on the Salem Witch House 
Book can be purchased at Amazon 

Thomas Gardner Blog  John Goff, Salem Preservationist 
Salem Museum
Preserving Salem's historic Greenlawn Cemetery

The Bowditch House Photo by John V. Goff Historic Preservation & Design

Then & Now: Down By The Mill

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Captain Joseph Gould Barn & Preservation

An introduction share to the article The Captain Joseph Gould Barn in the Topsfield Historical Collections Volume 34 written by Norm Isler President of the Topsfield Historic Society 
The article can be found at the Topsfield Public Library in the reference section.
Sundial Sundial, 1697. In back of Parson Capen house in Topsfield, MA.Photo by Kristen Galardi

The article details the preservation of present and future plans and the years of effort and dedication put forth by local residents and fund raisers. A great read! (and some added genealogy details by Melissa).

Norm Isler has written a wonderful, detailed account on the project to preserve one of Topsfield's oldest structures--the reconstruction of the Joseph Gould Barn on the Capen House property located at 1 Howlett Street. Isler was the heart and soul who initiated this venture. In his article Isler walks the reader through the entire process of this venture. Learn how all these committed and loyal men and women made this possible--from architects to boards to local caring residents. The researchers and construction crew---a 4th grade teacher in the community who raised funds from a penny drive. A donation even came from Hawaii. Several stores and corporations who pledged their time, money, services, and supplies. Garden club to Rotarian members all helped to make this a reality.

The property is now the central location of Topsfield's Historic headquarters. A climate controlled archives center, a host for several artifacts---including a musket from Revolutionary war and much more! The barn is also a facility for private and community events. Stop by the Topsfield library or tour the Gould Barn to learn about the great journey that brought back a 300+ year old structure to life!

Birthday celebration held at the barn

Zaccheus Gould (1589-1668) son of Richard Gould and Mary Colder. He was one of the founders of Topsfield and married Phebe Deacon daughter of Thomas Deacon and Marsha Field. The couple had one son John Gould (1635-1709) m Sarah Baker October 14, 1660

John (December 1, 1662 - 1724), married Phebe French in 1684
Sarah (December 18, 1664 - 1723), married Joseph Bixby, Jr. in 1682
Thomas (February 14, 1666 - 1752), married first Mary Yates in 1700. Thomas married second in 1728/29, the widow Mary Stanley
Samuel (March 9, 1669/70 - 1724), married Margaret Stone in 1697
Zaccheus (March 26, 1672 - 1739), married Elizabeth Curtice in 1703
Priscilla (November 2, 1674 - 1715), married John Curtice, Jr. in 1695
Joseph (August 24, 1677 - 1753), married Priscilla Perkins in 1712/13
Mary (June 16, 1681 - May 11, 168)

It was John Gould and his wife Phebe who built the barn in 1710---location 129 Washington Street. He was a weaver. The fifth son Joseph Gould---Captain, Ensign, Selectmen, and representative of the general court for the town had a son Joseph which the barn was named after. He was a farmer and Captain of a military Co. April 19, 1775 when the bell sounded for the battle of Lexington and Concord, Joseph did a stand halt in the field and left his plow in mid-furrow and darted off to fight the Brits.

Bond from the From the Hansen/Gould Family History site


A bond, given by John Gould (1635-1710) in 1664, before his father’s death, promising to pay £24 to each of the five daughters of his sister Priscilla (Wildes) upon their attaining the age of 21 years.  Priscilla had died nearly fourteen months before, and Wildes was married again to the unfortunate Sarah Averill. The bond is witnessed by John and Thomas Baker, brothers-in-law of John Gould.  Upon the reverse of the same paper is a receipt by Timothy Day for the share of his wife Phebe.

Home built in 1670 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. Because the property was subdivided, it is no longer at its listed address, 73 Prospect Street.

Gould family clip from the Archives: Another Fire in Topsfield Saturday, December 17, 1836 Gloucester Telegraph (Gloucester, MA)

Also check out these sources: An Account of Some early Settlers of West Dunstable, Monson, and Hollis, NH Vital Records of Topsfield, Massachusetts: To the end of the year 1849 Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts Town Records of Topsfield, Massachusetts by Joseph Dow With Lists of Members and Their Revolutionary Ancestors

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Rare Antique Photo of Jethro Coffin House, Oldest on Nantucket

Mickey Shemin and Henry W. Royster  1973
                        Every once in awhile, a really special antique photo comes my way, like this rare cabinet card of the oldest house in Nantucket, the Jethro Coffin House. The photo was taken just prior to its first renovation in the early 1880s, but the house was built 200 years earlier, in 1686! It’s truly amazing that this little home survived.
Oldest House on Nantucket, Jethro Coffin Horseshoe House
       A saltbox house, this structure is the only surviving structure from the island’s 17th Century English settlement. On the bottom right of this photo, there’s an imprint by the most prominent early Nantucket photographers, Henry S. Wyer, who was also an artist, writer and passionate about keeping Nantuckets’ history alive.
Built as a wedding gift for Jethro Coffin, grandson of Tristram Coffin (c. 1605-1681) , one of the earliest founders of Nantucket,  and his bride Mary Gardner, granddaughter of the first Governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Gardner (c. 1592 – 1674).
   Portrait of  Mary Gardner Coffin (1670-1767)
                 The Jethro Coffin house is also known as the Horseshoe House, due to the distinctive horseshoe brick motif on its chimney. The horseshoe was then, as it is now, a sign of good luck.

The house was abandoned by its owners during the Civil War, and fell into a state of disrepair. The photo shown in this article was taken in the 1880s, at which time it would have been uninhabited for about 20 years. The Nantucket Historical Association purchased the home in 1923, which restored it beautifully and declared a National Historic Landmark listed in 1968 on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1987, the Jethro Coffin House was struck by lightning and almost destroyed. Clearly, its lucky horseshoe protected this architectural treasure through about 320 years of American history.

Ada River at Jethro Coffin House, Nantucket Island Ada River at Jethro Coffin House

According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “African slaves on Nantucket were freed in 1773, a decade before Massachusetts as a whole followed suit”. The Museum of African American History has an excellent article on the The African Meeting House, built in about 1827, is about a 14 minute walk from the Jethro Coffin House.

Antique Image of the Nantucket African Meeting House
This is what the renovated Jethro Coffin House looks like today, and it’s open to Visit Nantucket. Nantucket’s Jethro Coffin House, Renovated