The Hope Mill, circa 1835, is unique in two respects. Built by the Squire William Lang, the Hope Mill was operated by the family for four generations. The character and function of the mill evolved over the years to reflect the needs of the changing community. Initially a carding and fulling mill, the enterprise was first expanded to provide a shingle mill and a very small grist operation. Eventually it as fully converted to a sawmill as it remains today.
The Hope Mill was purchased from John Miller Hope by the Otonabee Region Conservation Authority in 1966. Considerable time and financial resources have been spent in restoring the Hope Mill to its original charm and character as a functioning sawmill, particularly following the blaze of 2001. The award-winning Friends of Hope Mill, in cooperation with Otonabee Conservation and the Otonabee Region Conservation Foundation, operate the Mill as a heritage attraction, offering sawing demonstrations, tours and special events.
Although the finer points of sawmill technology have changed over the years, the basic principles remain the same. Water from the Indian River flows through the Mill penstock engaging the two turbines that can deliver a combined power of 75 horsepower or 55 kilowatts.
The generated power is directed, through a series of wooden-toothed and iron gears, belts and pulleys, to the 48-inch diameter circular saw and log carriage, cutting lumber to various thicknesses. Several large machines, including a lathe, ripsaw, planer, drill-press and joiner were added to the mill operation in response to demands for various wood products.
As well, an impressive collection of 19th Century carpenter’s tools featuring a selection of planers, saws, chisels, scales, adzes, spokeshaves and more is exhibited in the Hope Mill. The collection was donated to the Conservation Authority by the late Joseph P. Sharp of Peterborough. The Friends of Hope Mill have also created a children’s workshop area for families and their children to learn about various wood carving techniques.
A solar-powered kiln, designed and built by The Friends of Hope Mill, now dries hardwood and softwood lumber in far less time that the air-dry storage method.
For more information about the Hope Mill, please visit the website at www.hopemill.ca
In 1846, Thomas Short, later member of the Parliament of Canada for Peterborough County, constructed the stone flour mill on the Indian River. Within five years, Short had built a sawmill across the river and had laid out a village plot named Allandale. By 1858, the Allandale Flour Mill, which now also housed an oatmeal mill, had become one of the largest in the region and was exporting large quantities of its products. Short encountered financial difficulties however, and lost possession of the mill in 1862. The village and the mill were re-named Lang after Squire William Lang around 1872. The mill, whose interior was rebuilt by W.J. Humphries after a fire in 1896, continued in operation until 1965 when it was purchased by Otonabee Conservation. The Conservation Authority restored the Mill and it was officially opened in 1974.
For more information about the Lang Grist Mill, please visit www.langpioneervillage.ca