The Old Schwamb Mill exists as a complex of three buildings (Main Mill Building, the Dryhouse, and the Barn), which utilized water power and steam power more than 100 years ago to manufacture finely crafted natural wood and gilded frames during America’s “Gilded Age.” The Mill is rare as a vernacular architectural survivor, as well as for a collection of preserved and historically significant workplaces and rooms which have maintained continuous industrial operations since 1864.
The Main Building
As an industrial building, the main structure was rebuilt after an 1861 fire, specifically to contain and protect this collection of tools and machinery. The Main Building of the Old Schwamb Mill was rebuilt on the 200 year old foundations of glacial boulders that mark the original water powered grist and saw mill. Added were two additional ells, c.1869 and c.1883, to accommodate the growing woodworking business contained principally in this building.
Like other industrial landmarks of its broad, general type (post-and beam framed mill building, formerly water powered, complete with manufactory era machines) the Old Schwamb Mill is one of those buildings which “work much magic” upon visitors who enter – because the interior is a rich symphony of period industrial rooms, finishes, and mechanics – concealed within an understated architectural shell.