Lou's Place in Cyberspace
CASTLE VALLEY MILL
The lowest level of the mill has changed over the evolution of the Mill, transitioning from water wheel, to water and steam power, to water turbine, to electric motor drive.
All of the original "Hurst Frame" or primary power drive mechanism framework has been removed, as are all the drive gears and shafts.
The original wheel pit, which housed the original drive machinery, converting the horizontal rotary motion of the water wheel to vertical power, had been covered over when the Mill was changed from water wheel to a vertical water turbine.
A stationary Corliss horizontal steam engine was installed after 1852 by James Reed when he owned and operated the mill. The engine was positioned in the area where the basement staircase is now located. The steam engine and gearing, and the shafts for the control of the sluice gate were removed and sold as scrap around 1938-1941, when the mill was abandoned.
It appears the mill originally had two sets of millstones, one on either side of the centerline of the Mill. Since the first floor had been repaired and sections replaced, we have lost the shaft holes to the original stones, thus we cannot know locations or quantity for certain.
The flooring that extends over the race at the rear of the building was replaced after Henry Fisher purchased the mill in 1948. Most of the timbers used to repair the mill were taken from barns and mills being demolished in the area. The bottom boots of the six rear grain elevators, installed when the mill was extended in 1879, were also removed at this time.
A door on the south wall leads outside to the millrace and dam. This doorway was once a small ground level window allowing light and a view of the sluice and race. The present doorway was installed by Henry Fischer.
During the 1950’s Henry Fischer and his son Henry Jr. installed a gas engine in the Annex, which turned an AC generator with the drive extension shaft passing through the center north wall window (removed) into the Mill. This was done after he had repaired the first floor.
Henry set up this drive system of belts and pulleys to drive a mill stone he installed, the only set of stones that are still in place. It is not known if the original stone set was located in this position.
Henry Fischer also had intentions to individually electrify the mill processing equipment by electric motor, being powered from the motor-generator set he had installed.
Viewing the original rear west wall from the exterior of the Mill, you can see the drive shaft hole through the stonework where the original waterwheel driveshaft extended into the basement mill pit.
Original west wall of mill prior to rear extension. Note the hole in the wall where I believe the original wheel shaft was located. Due to the dam height I believe it had to be an undershot wheel.
Dam height is too low for an overshot wheel. In this photo the race is blocked for maintenance. The turbine penstock and turbine were located in the distance where the drop-off is to the water level.
Original basement plan showing wheel pit with hole for wheel shaft and beam supports along front (east) wall.
Overhead view of original basement
View showing vertical structural supporting timbers and caps, with drive shaft extended through wall into pit.
Structural cross beams. Note the large timbers where the heavy millstones, weighing up to 3000lbs, and machinery were to be placed.
Basement with beams, joists, staircase, and water wheel in place.
View of original basement structure, before expansion in 1879. This view looking south.
View showing the rear extension of the mill made after 1879. The undershot wheel was replaced by a turbine.
Heavy 4X12 joists were laid over the raceway. An arch wall cover on the south end was also installed. (Not shown)
A concrete raceway from the dam to the mill was also constructed. A turbine and penstock was then installed.
A floor was put down ready for the gear and transfer machinery. This flooring collapsed and was replace by Henry Fischer after his purchase of the mill in 1948. The turbine was not replaced, the original having been sold as scrap.
View of race, turbine, and turbine penstock. Turbine was removed as was penstock.
View looking towards north wall. Front wall is to the right (east). Window on right was replaced by a doorway into the Annex after 1852 when stationary steam engine was added. Window on left is where Henry Fischer located driveshaft and pulley wheel from gas engine. The brick columns on the right wall to support the collapsed first floor beams were built from the brick used for the bearing pedestal supports of the horizontal steam engine. Engine was located between windows where staircase is shown
View towards rear (west) and race extension.
View of turbine location and shaft. All original turbine machinery has been removed. In this area over the race were located six grain elevators rising to the third floor. All this equipment was removed when the race flooring was replaced after 1948.
South side of Mill c1890. Note the race arch cover. The small ground level window shown here was later changed to a doorway by Henry Fischer. The small extension, parallel to the mill, was a saw mill and wagon shed, a barn is in the distant right.
Henry Fischer sitting at race entrance on the south side of the Mill c1950. Note that the flooring over the Race is missing. The floor was level with the top of the stone he is sitting on. The arch covering is missing also and you can see light entering through a rear wall window. This indicates the basement floor over the race had deteriorated and collapsed. Repairs to the race and flooring were done during Henry Fischer’s ownership.
South side of mill as it appeared in 2008. Note the mill arch cover with opening for window. The doorway to the right of the race arch was once a small ground level window. The retaining wall on the right once supported a saw mill and wagon shed. The change in stone coloration can clearly be seen in this photo indicating the rear extension to the mill of 1879 after it was purchased in 1852 by the Reed brothers.
Type of steam engine reportedly used in the mill. Was positioned parallel to the north wall where the staircase is presently located. Henry Fischer Jr. claims to have been told the type engine used by Mr. Rogers who owned the mill prior to Henry Fischer. The brick bearing pedestals were dismantled and used as supports of the large beams supporting the first floor.
Photo showing the high water mark of the Aug. 1955 flood. Henry Fischer left his initials. Pulley wheel on right is on the motor/generator drive shaft located in the Annex.