May Events at the Old Schwamb Mill

Tom Calderwood

Talk: I’ll Sue! Mill Owners vs. Arlington on Thursday, May 12, 6:30 pm 

This presentation is a deep dive into a dispute related to the early 1870s creation of the Arlington Heights Reservoir) Speaker: Tom Calderwood, OSM volunteer, (Refreshments and viewing of Into the Woods exhibit to follow). Suggested donation: $5.00

Sarah Burks, Doreen Stevens and Aimee Taberner

Freedom’s Way, Hidden Treasures Month Talk: Arlington’s Cultural Heights Revisited Saturday, May 21, 2 pm

“Arlington’s Cultural Heights Revisited” with speakers Sarah Burks, Doreen Stevens and Aimee Taberner, co-authors, Arlington’s Cultural Heights (2014). Please join us as we enjoy an illustrated talk about the remarkable artists’ colony that flourished in western Arlington during the early 1900s. The Arlington Heights and Crescent Hill neighborhoods boasted a significant concentration of creative residents including the Bavarian master wood carver Johannes Kirkmeyer, short story writer and poet Susan Hartley Swett, newspaper journalist Marjorie A. MacBride, poet and editor William S.B. Braithwaite and above all, Cyrus Dallin, sculptor of the Paul Revere Equestrian statue in Boston’s North End. Refreshments and Into the Woods exhibit viewing opportunity following the talk.

Admission: Suggested Donation: $5.

Into the Woods: From Trees to Frames

The current exhibition in the Schwamb Mill’s Gallery is Into the Woods: From Trees to Frames, which traces the steps involved in making a frame beginning with identifying individual tree species (most native to New England) to learning how our artisan woodturner David W. Graf uses the original Schwamb Mill machinery to create truly unique made-to-order oval and circular frames. Special events will be scheduled during the exhibit’s run, which will be through June, 2022. 

Support the Old Schwamb Mill

End-of year giving by our supporters helps to keep the Mill a well-preserved and fully operating living history museum. Please help the Old Schwamb Mill complete its work in 2021 in as strong a position as possible. Even a modest gift makes the Mill’s maintenance and day-to-day work easier now and in the coming year.

Read our Works in Progress bulletin to what we are doing to maintain this historic mill, increase our knowledge of its workers and business, and remain involved in public life, even with the changes Covid 19 has brought.

While museum visitation recovered in 2021, we are still carefully pacing our indoor activity, encouraging individual visitation, and inviting the public to experience our lectures virtually, via Zoom

If our efforts have made a difference, we hope you will join us with your financial support.

The Old Schwamb Mill in Arlington, Massachusetts, is located on the oldest continuously operating mill site in the United States. Mills have been located on the main building site since the late 1600s. In 1971, the Old Schwamb Mill was listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places.

Our wood turner David W. Graf creating a frame.

In 1864, Charles Schwamb purchased a rebuilt, two-and-a-half story wood frame industrial building that had been built three years earlier but never occupied. The Schwambs proceeded to build west and east wing additions in 1869 and the late 1880s, respectively and were still making picture frames on the premises as late as 1969. After 105 years operating as a family-owned business, a remarkable transition from working factory to a living history museum was made possible by the vision and determination of Arlington resident and early preservationist Patricia Cunningham Fitzmaurice.

The Mill’s unique 19th-century elliptical lathes, its original belt-driven shaft-and-pulley machinery, and the original hand-turning process are used to this day to create custom-made oval and circular frames for customers around the world.


Tuesdays and Saturdays, 10 am to 4 pm and by appointment


Address: 17 Mill Lane, Arlington, Massachusetts 02476
Telephone: 781-643-0554

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The Old Schwamb Mill