HATCH MILL CAST IN STUDENT’S FILM: Director hopes to raise money to renovate historic site
|DuBois hopes his film will encourage Marshfield residents to donate money for the mill's restoration. (TIM CORREIRA/For The Patriot Ledger)
By SYDNEY SCHWARTZ
The Patriot Ledger
MARSHFIELD - Growing up off Pine Street, Michael DuBois never knew about the aging sawmill five minutes down the road.
But last month, when the 17-year-old discovered the 18th-century Hatch Mill at the corner of Pine and Union streets - and the residents working to restore it - he knew he had to help.
DuBois, a senior at Marshfield High School and an amateur filmmaker, is working with the Hatch Mill Restoration and Preservation Group to create a documentary film about the deteriorating mill - and its renovation.
He plans to use the film to apply for a $10,000 grant from the History
Channel, enter it in the Plymouth Film Festival and show it on the local-access cable channel - to increase awareness and bring in donations.
‘‘You can’t get rid of this place,’’ said DuBois, whose company, The Dream of the Woods Productions, creates films to inspire change. ‘‘It’s kind of like a magical place. You walk around, you can almost feel the history.’’
DuBois is working on the project with Marshfield High School technology teacher Jason Soslow, whose students will use three-dimensional animation to illustrate the mill’s saw.
Derby Academy third-grader Jack Noonan also recently completed a video on the mill for a class project.
The Hatch Mill, purchased in 2004 by the preservation group, is the last standing relic of the North River’s shipbuilding history. It was built in 1752 and served as a gristmill before being converted to a sawmill in 1812.
The mill was shut in 1965 and sold to the Marshfield Historical Society a few years later.
The Hatch Mill Preservation and Restoration Group hopes to restore the shack and its manufactured pond and open it as a museum dedicated to the North River’s shipbuilding history.
The group says visitors will hear and see the wooden wheel churning the pond’s water to power the saw. They’ll be able to traverse the ladders between floors and better understand the workers who labored in the milling, shipwright and building trades.
‘‘There’s going to be sawdust everywhere,’’ said Roy Kirby, president of the organization. ‘‘It’s going to be beautiful. It’s going to be like nothing anyone has heard before except way back when.’’
The group hopes to raise $650,000 for the project. It is applying today for a matching grant from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund; the money would help pay for structural work.
It has already received more than $50,000 and hopes to raise more money today. The state will match as much as $100,000, Kirby said.
In April, town residents will vote on whether to put $120,250 in Community Preservation Act money toward the restoration.
The group is also applying to have the mill added to the National Register of Historic Places and hopes to one day provide scholarships to students for preservation-related trades.
For now, the mill remains condemned, with deteriorating wood and fading red trim. Inside, there are piles of centuries-old wood and remnants of antique machines, along with cobwebs and beehives.
A few years ago, the roof collapsed and organizers hired a company that specializes in historical renovations to replace it temporarily with a tin roof. The structure itself is held up by cables.
On Saturday, DuBois filmed a local book club visiting the mill. Members had just read ‘‘The Red House,’’ Sarah Messer’s story about her childhood home next door - New England’s oldest continuously lived-in house. Her house was owned for hundreds of years by the Hatch family, who also built the mill.
DuBois, whose documentary is due by the end of March, said he envisions other groups visiting a revamped Hatch Mill.
‘‘I know that it would be a great place to bring my kids, to say, ‘Hey, look, this is what Marshfield used to be like.’’’
How to help
Donations can be sent to Hatch Mill Restoration and Preservation Group Inc., 125 Furnace St., Marshfield, 02050. For more information, visit hatchmill.org.
Copyright 2007 The Patriot Ledger
Transmitted Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Students work to save Hatch Mill
By Kathryn Koch
Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - Updated: 03:54 PM EST
Future filmmakers and animators at Marshfield High School think the Hatch Mill on the North River is “Worth Saving.”
In keeping with the non-profit, tax-exempt Hatch Mill Restoration and Preservation Group’s slogan, “Worth Saving? We Think So,” students in the school’s digital filmmaking and three-dimensional animation design courses are working on two projects in support of Hatch Mill restoration efforts.
The Hatch Mill was the last mill on the North River, from which 1,023 ships were built and launched during the 18th and 19th centuries during a period of industrial growth.
The two most famous ships were the “Beaver,” which was built in Pembroke at the Brick Kiln yard and was later involved in the Boston Tea Party, and the “ Columbia,” which was the first ship to circumnavigate the globe under the American flag.
Jason Soslow, director of instructional technology for pre-kindergarten through grade 12, teaches the two classes. Soslow said he grabbed onto the opportunity to help raise awareness of the restoration efforts and work on projects that fit in with the curricula outlined for each class.
“These fit in with my philosophy that mastery projects should be challenging, enjoyable and have a real-world outcome,” he said.
The students in his digital filmmaking class are working on a documentary film directed by senior Michael DuBois, an aspiring professional filmmaker, that they plan to enter into the History Channel’s “Save Our History National Honors Contest,” as well as the Plymouth Independent Film Festival in the “Future Filmmakers” program.
DuBois is gathering existing footage, including film taken of the Hatch Mill renovation team touring the mill site, and filming and editing his own footage, including an interview with Sarah Messer, author of a nonfiction book about her family home abutting the mill property, known as the Red House, that had been owned by eight generations of the Hatch family.
In Soslow’s animation and digital effects class, several students are creating a three-dimensional computer animation of a saw mechanism similar to the one that was used at the Hatch Mill. They will digitally place the animated saw within a 360-degree rotating mill. This will be their final project.
“This is going to be the big ‘wow’ shot of the documentary,” he said. “I know my kids will do a great job with the model.”
Soslow said the documentary is due into the History Channel by March 31. The winning documentary will receive a $5,000 prize and some students will get an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C.
Roy Kirby, president of the Hatch Mill Restoration and Preservation Group, Inc., said he appreciates the help spreading the word about what is an exciting project in recognition of the history of Marshfield and the North River that is expected to cost $650,000.
“It’s nice to see high school kids stepping up to the plate,” he said. “Our passion is to preserve an important piece of history representing the working class of so many generations who contributed to the making of this country through the milling, shipwright and building trades.”
Jack Clancy, vice president and treasurer of the Hatch Mill Restoration and Preservation Group, said historical architect William Barry of Cambridge has been hired to lend his expertise to the project. Barry is writing a grant due Feb. 21 for up to $100,000 from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund. Structures North, a structural engineering firm, is on board to me the grant requirements for funding.
The mill group will be required to raise matching funds to receive the grant money. Clancy said the group is seeking private lenders to raise most of the money for the project.
At Town Meeting April 23, mill group members will ask voters to approve $120,250 in Community Preservation Act funding to cover consulting and engineering costs as phase one of Hatch Mill renovation. Phase two will be reconstruction of the two mill buildings with town approvals.
Clancy said group members have also been working on the required paperwork to get the mill listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The mill has been ruled eligible for nomination as part of a long process through the Massachusetts Historical Commission. He said preservation consultant Christine Beard prepared the nomination.
“It opens up more avenues of fund-raising and grants,” he said.
|Roy Kirby of Marshfield is leading an effort to restore Hatch Mill. The original gears, which were turned by a water wheel, are still intact. (GARY HIGGINS/The Patriot Ledger)
Set on saving a sawmill: Dilapidated 250-year-old mill needs $600,000 restoration
By JOHN ZAREMBA
The Patriot Ledger
MARSHFIELD - Standing in the dark, damp spot where a giant water wheel once powered huge saw blades, Roy Kirby explains his latest project.
He and his partners want the wheel back in place, turning and churning and making a big racket just as it did a generation ago. They want to fix the creaky two-story shack that houses it and get rid of the sign that says the building is unsafe.
In short, Kirby and the other members of the Hatch Mill Restoration & Preservation Group want to return the 250-year-old sawmill to form and reopen it as a museum that pays tribute to a vital part of the North Rivers shipbuilding history.
All those little shipyards in Pembroke, Norwell, Hanover ... all had these mills. And this is the last one, so we have to save it, he said.
Mills like this one are well-documented in photographs and historical books. But saving the building itself could offer vivid insight into the way things were made generations ago.
Restoring the mill will allow people to stand next to the giant grinding gears and traverse the ladder-like stairways between floors. Visitors will see what mill workers saw and touch what they touched.
Its far more evocative to be in the place where someone worked, said Brian McNiff, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Secretary of States office, which oversees the state historical commission.
Kirby and his partners, brothers Jack and Bob Clancy, have been kicking the restoration project around in their minds for years. In 2004, they bought the 3.5-acre property from the town historical society for $1, with the condition that they would take over the $40,000 mortgage, restore the mill and leave the land undeveloped.
Since buying the property, they have replaced a collapsed roof, hired a firm that specializes in historical renovations and started a campaign to raise $600,000 to carry out the rest of the work.
Were going to go nationwide on this project, Kirby said.
He wants educators from all over the country to take interest. His selling point is that people who shaped the nations society and commerce may well have set foot inside the mill at one point or another.
George Washington may have needed wood, he said. These guys were around back then.
The Hatch Mill, at Union and Pine streets, was built in 1759. A second, larger building was added later, and together the structures provided wood for builders in Marshfield, Scituate and Pembroke. The mill ground to a halt in 1965, and the historical society bought it three years later.
The society intended to restore and preserve it but never had the money to tackle the project. So it sat idle for years, its roof bowing inward and its walls rotting.
Kirbys track record indicates that fund-raising will not be a problem this time around; he led a $300,000 campaign to build a skate park for Marshfields youth downtown. The achievement won him the towns Citizen of the Year honor in 2004.
About $50,000 has already been raised, including cash donations and in-kind contributions. The group eventually wants to host local fund-raisers - ideas include an open house at a modern-day sawmill - Kirby said they will first try to get the building on the National Register of Historic Places.
Its absence from that list in part led Kirby and his partners to withdraw their request for $120,000 in Community Preservation Act money at this years annual town meeting. They plan to make the same request at the fall town meeting.
In the meantime, Kirby is taking a class in professional fund-raising at Boston University and hopes to apply his newfound knowledge to the mill restoration.
Imagine coming down here and seeing this with your kids, he said, standing on the bridge between the mill and the pond that once powered it. This is how it was done.
1759 Hatch Mill built
1965 Mill closed
1968 Mill bought by historical society
2004 Hatch Mill Restoration & Preservation Group takes over the property and begins restoration efforts
John Zaremba may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Copyright 2006 The Patriot Ledger
Transmitted Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Run of the mill project
Wed, Mar 24, 2004
By Alice Coyle / email@example.com
Restoration group gearing up to save a piece of local history
The man behind Marshfield's extraordinary skate park was honored
as the 2003 Citizen of the Year just a month ago, but Roy Kirby
doesn't have time to rest on his laurels.
Kirby is president of the recently formed Hatch Mill Restoration
and Preservation Group which has taken on the monumental task
of bringing the 18th century sawmill located off Union Street
back to life. On Saturday, March 13, the non-profit group signed
the purchase and sale agreement to buy the old mill from the Marshfield
Historical Society, which had owned the property since 1968.
|The last Hatch to own the mill
- Franklin Decker Hatch - gives a tour of the site to former
Marshfield Historical Society President Pearl Whittaker and
John Vogel in 1968. (Photos courtesy of the Marshfield Historical
Kirby's group bought the mill for $1 and has taken over the $43,000
mortgage on the property while planning a restoration and renovation
that will likely top $1 million when it's complete, he estimates.
Working alongside Kirby in this effort are Jack and Bobby Clancy
serving as Vice President and Clerk of the Hatch Mill Restoration
and Preservation Group.
Historical Society president Jack Braithwaite couldn't be happier
to see the old mill in Kirby's capable hands. Kirby, is after
all, known to many in Marshfield as a man who gets things done
"I've been working on this since 1968, and have been chairman
of the Hatch Mill
Committee since 1970," said Braithwaite, who will serve
on the new group's board of directors. "I'm very, very happy
Roy Kirby and Jack Clancy have come forward with a plan to restore
and preserve the mill. It will be a really wonderful day when
they finish their work."
|One of the first
fundraisers for the Hatch Mill was the Harvest Home Tour of
Old Two Mile held November 23, 1968. In this photo by Barye
Hall, published in the South Shore Mirror, Marshfield Historical
Society President Pearl Whittaker and Donald Kimball ride
past the Hatch Mill and through the Hatch Homestead owned
by the Messer family.
The mill, which had run for more than 200 years came to a grinding
halt in 1965. And for more than three decades Braithwaite has
had hopes of restoring the mill to a fully functioning machine
again, making the historic site not only a tourist attraction
but also an educational tool for generations to come.
Built in 1752 by Israel Hatch, the site was first used as a gristmill,
but was converted to a sawmill featuring an up and down saw blade
in 1812 by Deacon Joel Hatch. In 1859, under the ownership of
Samuel Hatch the two-story structure was added at the site. Boxboards
were cut on the first floor of the mill building and Samuel had
plans to use the second floor to make boxes. Those plans fell
through, and in 1872 Samuel's son, Samuel Franklin Hatch returned
from the Civil War, bought the mill from his father and made some
major changes to the operation. Samuel Franklin Hatch installed
a more modern circular saw to replace the up and down blade, along
with a turbine water wheel, both of which vastly improved production
at the site. The mill operated for another 93 years supplying
wood products for home, building and ship construction. The last
Hatch in charge - Franklin Decker Hatch - ceased work at the mill
in 1965 and sold the property to Norwell resident Robert Reed
for $6,000. Reed would double his investment just three years
later when he in turn sold the mill to the Marshfield Historical
Society for $12,000.
Fundraising efforts for the Hatch Mill swung into full gear in
the months following the purchase. The society had set some lofty
To restore the Hatch Mill to operable
condition with the up and down saw,
Operate the facility as an educational
experience for the general public and for students,
Halt disappearance of early American
Craftsmanship from our area
Preserve the mill as a living example
of an early New England Industry.
Yellowing newspaper clips saved in a leather album chronicle
the historical society's campaign to restore the mill. From auctions
and door-to-door solicitations to the Harvest Home Tour of Old
Two Mile held Nov. 23. 1968, the Hatch Mill Committee of the historical
society hatched dozens of fundraisers to cover the costs of repairs
and restoration work which Braithwaite said he quickly learned
would be high.
"When we bought the mill we had an architectural firm -Perry,
Dean & Stewart - look at it and let us know what it would
take to restore it and get it up to snuff," Braithwaite recalled.
The Boston architects wouldn't be the only group to assess and
study the mill.
The committee also reports hiring Preservation Research - an engineering
and contracting firm to prepare a diagnostic survey of the earliest
portion of the Hatch Mill at a cost of $375 in the early years
of ownership. And in 1971 the group "engaged the services
of Kirby Keller, a consultant and contractor for Plimoth Plantation
to prepare working drawings and restoration estimates on the mill."
Keller's plans, while never built on 33 years ago, were dusted
off this week and handed over to the Hatch Mill Restoration and
Preservation group. It was an incredible find, says Kirby who
met with a group of Hatch Mill abutters Sunday to hear their concerns
and feedback about the proposed restoration project. Kirby found
more than just a little sense of fate in the architect's first
"Bill McMullen had the drawings and brought them to our meeting,"
said Kirby, who hopes to follow those plans three decades after
they were first penned. "It's going to save us a lot of money
and a lot of time," he said.
Of course, as he has done with the skate park, Kirby plans to
solicit the help of dozens of volunteers and draw on the generosity
of donors in tackling the mill project.
Braithwaite said Kirby has already been networking with and going
after what he called some "heavy hitters" to help finance
Kirby's personal interest in the mill dates back to 1987 when
he first wrote to the Historical Society with a plan to restore
the structure and use it as a wood working studio for his carpentry
business Craftsmanship with Pride.
"I was interested in the mill as a building," Kirby
said. " I read about it and knew the historical society used
to have tours there."
But by the mid-to-late 1980s, Kirby said the mill was boarded
up and he could see signs that kids had been going in the building
without permission and hanging out there. In his proposal to the
historical society, Kirby provided his background and shared his
desire to give young people in the community a closer working
relationship with history. "I wanted to do something for
the community and preserve an historic treasure," Kirby recalled.
The historical society didn't take Kirby up on the offer then.
He built his own wood working studio next to his Furnace Street
home, but Kirby said he continued to keep an eye on the old mill
and to keep in contact with Braithwaite and the historical society.
Kirby pitched in at another historical society property and did
some roof work at the Marcia Thomas House, but the mill was always
on his mind.
And so it was for Braithwaite. But limited resources and a Hatch
Mill Committee that had dwindled from 16 members to just 4 by
the summer of 2001, led Braithwaite to the difficult decision
to sell the property.
"We didn't have the people power or the resources to do anything
with the mill." While some renovations and repairs had been
made over the years including work to the slueceway and the interior
of first floor of the building in the 1970s, and the area near
the turbine during the 1980s, by the late 1990s the structure
had fallen into serious disrepair. Roof shingling work undertaken
in 1978 by a high school sponsored group called "Project
Enterprise" had given way to time and weather leaving an
entire section of the structure wide open to the elements. The
mill structure leans heavily to the south and the structure has
become unstable, Braithwaite said.
When the property first went on the market, Braithwaite said the
historical society was looking for a buyer willing to preserve
and restore the structure for use as a mill. There was some interest
in the site, but none in saving the mill. "There was one
person who wanted to build an art studio inside and someone else
who wanted to knock it down and build a house there," he
Then six months ago, Kirby's friend and fellow Kiwanis member
Jack Clancy came to him and suggested they take on a project to
restore the old mill. "Jack said he went by the mill it was
just incredible," Kirby recalled.
With a willing partner, and a sense there were people within the
community eager to preserve the mill, Kirby found himself writing
to the historical society once again and this time around found
a very receptive audience for his plan to create both an educational
site and living history museum.
"They were very pleased with the scope of the plan," which Kirby said was first and foremost education based.
As it was with the skate park, Kirby's vision for the mill is
a grand one and includes not only a fully operational mill with
the restored up and down saw blade - currently riding in the back
of his truck - but also a blacksmith shop on site and a conference
room for classes and historical programs.
Kirby envisions a woodworking shop at the mill where people would
be working all the time and a sawyer's apartment whose tenant
would also serve as caretaker for the property.
In restoring the mill, the first order of business will be to
shore up the roof with braces to hold the structure up, Kirby
said. Even with a design plan in hand, Kirby said he'll to turn
to other experts in the building field and older residents with
a knowledge of post and beam construction. After documenting everything
in the building, Kirby said it will be dismantled and the wood
will be sorted. "We'll go through the wood and anything that
can be saved will be stored in trailers until we begin construction.
Kirby estimates the project will take about 2-1/2 years to complete,
but the discovery of Keller's plans could shorten that timeframe.
In the meantime, Kirby said the Hatch Mill Restoration and Preservation
Group is looking for volunteers of all ages. Working on the project
could give young people interested in getting involved in the
building trade invaluable experience, noted Kirby. The project
already has a Web site - www.hatchmill.org - to give the mill
national attention and with its non-profit status, the group will
go for whatever historic grants are available at the state and
Fundraising is one of Kirby's fortes and he's already planning
tool auctions and other events to draw more community interest
and involvement in the project.
"We're going to stretch that dollar we paid for the mill
a long way."
Interest is already growing, said Kirby, who noted that many people
have come down to the site and given him business cards and asked
to be a part of the project. But Kirby does request that until
the building is made stable residents refrain from visiting the
mill for safety sake.
Kirby's enthusiasm for the restoration is indomitable. "The
Hatch Mill has been like its saw, an up and down project over
the years. But this is a dream project," he said. "We're
going to save the mill. We're going to do this right so it will
last another 300 years and be a treasure for the community and
New owners plan to restore two-century-old building
By SHAMUS McGILLICUDDY
The Patriot Ledger
After years of neglect, the Hatch Mill is finally getting a makeover.
One of the last surviving water-powered sawmills in the country, the 200-year-old mill has been idle for nearly 30 40 years. Built in 1812 by Deacon Joel Hatch on a pond off Union Street, the mill was handed down from generation to generation in the Hatch family for nearly two centuries. Lumber cut from its unique up-and-down saw was used to build houses homes in many of the surrounding nearby towns.
The mill was shut down in 1965 and sold to purchased by the Marshfield Historical Society in 1968. The society intended to restore and preserve it, but the organization never had the money capital to tackle the project. So the mill sat idle on a pond off Union street for years, its roof sagging and its walls crumbling.
In March local woodworker Roy Kirby and Jack Clancy, owner of Clancy Construction, bought the mill for a dollar. They formed the nonprofit Hatch Mill Restoration and Preservation Group and they intend to restore the mill to its former condition. The first step is to stabilize the structure. Kirby said much of the mill
is in good condition, but that part a portion of it is unsafe and threatening to in danger of collapse. "We're trying to keep the mill, using a lot of the original structure," Kirby said. "Our goal in these first few days is to brace it, to get it so it can make it through the winter." Kirby said it is was important to preserve as much of the original structure as possible. He said the integrity of the mill's historic value would be lost if he and Clancy tore the building down and built a reproduction.
Kirby and Clancy have hired Rondout Woodworking of Saugerties, N.Y., to stabilize the structure. "These guys are really good," Kirby said. "These are the pros.We're going to let them do the work."
Since announcing their plan to restore the mill in March, Kirby and Clancy have been contacted by people from across the nation who want to volunteer. The owner of a pest control company offered to help fight any termites that may have infested the structure. A mechanical engineering firm offered to design new millworks. Amateur carpenters from all over Marshfield have come forward, ready to strap on their tool belts. "As soon as (Rondout) makes the structure safe, we're going to notify everyone," Kirby said. Kirby said they will do as much restoration as possible will be done this winter.
Once the project is completed, Kirby and Clancy hope the mill serves as a museum, a gathering place for veteran craftsmen and a center of education for aspiring craftsmen. "This is going be a great place," Kirby said. "Not just for kids, but for a lot of old-timers, too. Old-time carpenters and woodworkers can go and
hang out and maybe teach the younger kids their trade." Kirby said he and Clancy also hope to hold some fund-raisers to help pay for the project.
For more information about the Hatch Mill project, visit www.
hatchmill.org. Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to Hatch Mill
Restoration and Preservation Group, Inc., 125 Furnace St., Marshfield
Reach Shamus McGillicuddy at firstname.lastname@example.org.