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Robinson Sawmill

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1803, c. 1860. Robinson Cemetery Rd. at Kent Hill Rd., Kents Corners

Joel Robinson, who settled in Calais about 1796, built this sawmill at a spot he dammed on the outlet stream from Curtis Pond, making it the third or fourth sawmill in Calais. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, every town in Vermont with available waterpower had several mills of this type producing the lumber and boards necessary to build anything more ambitious than a log house. Robinson’s mill is fairly typical: a simple box of heavy timber-frame construction with a gable roof and originally an up-and-down saw powered by an undershot waterwheel. Abdiel Kent acquired the mill in 1837 and kept it in operation for the next sixty years. By 1860 he had added a circular saw, a carriage extension to saw forty-foot logs, and a small shed-roofed addition to shelter the extra length. In 1876, he replaced the waterwheel with a water turbine, completing the mill as it remains today. One of the oldest operable sawmills in the United States, it is open to visitors of the Kents Corners Historic District during summer events.

Writing Credits

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson


What's Nearby


Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "Robinson Sawmill", [Calais, Vermont], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Vermont

Buildings of Vermont, Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 293-294.

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