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Old Mills in the United States

Baxter Grist Mill
Baxter Grist Mill, Yarmouth Massachusetts - Exterior
The photograph shows the mill as it faces Route 28. The mill sits on the north side of the road. The sign tells us that the original mill was constructed in 1710. The original mill was designed to be powered by a waterwheel that was located on the outside of the building. It was in 1860 that they resdesigned the mill complex and installed a turbine. The original turbine is displayed on the mill property. The mill has been restored in 1961 and again in 1989. In the recent restorations they have installed a new turbine. The mill functions in season using the new turbine to power the mill.
(I have just viewed Google Maps and I do not see the turbine on display as of January 2013.)
Baxter Grist Mill, Yarmouth Massachusetts - Exterior - Mill Race, Herring Run Ladders, Turbine Pit
This perspective tells us alot of information about the design of this turbine-powered grist mill. The pond is in the back of the building. The laddered steps of water that is walled in stone is the overflow from the water directed to the turbine. The ladders are also used during the herring run. When the miller wants to stop the water flowing into the penstock or wants to reduce the amount of water, the miller will divert the water into the overflow section. Here the overflow is beautiful due to the stone ladders. You will notice that the level of the pond is much higher than the water in the foreground of this photo. That is because when the water from the pond flows into the penstock (the area that holds the turbine) the water must drop down a significant distance in order to get the inertia to turn the turbine. This drop is referred to as the head of water. If you do not have enough room for the water to drop, then you do not have enough head to make the turbine turn. That explains the difference between the level of the pond and the level of the water in the foreground. The water in the forground of this photo is considered the tail race and here the water is channeled back to the natural stream. In this case the tailrace flows under Route 28.
Baxter Grist Mill, Yarmouth Massachusetts - Exterior - Mill Race, Herring Run Ladders
This perspective shows the same overflow, tailrace area but from a different angle. The turbine is located under the mill building. Once the water is spent it flows out from under the building joining the overflow water and all water continues through the tailrace and joins a stream under Route 28, through an inlet and ultimately into the ocean. This is the same access that allows the herring run up the stone ladders into Swan Pond to spawn.
Baxter Grist Mill, Yarmouth Massachusetts - Exterior - Rear of Mill Building
Rear perspective of Baxter Grist Mill
Baxter Grist Mill, Yarmouth Massachusetts - Display Turbine Built in 1860
1860 Turbine
Baxter Grist Mill, Yarmouth Massachusetts - Exterior - Closeup of the Display Turbine
Closeup of the Turbine Tines
Baxter Grist Mill, Yarmouth Massachusetts - Exterior - Swan Pond with Swan
Directly behind the mill is Swan Pond. There are many swans on Cape Cod and this pond is no exception. Although I only got one in this particular photo, there were at least 6 swans in this pond at the time. This is the millpond that provides the energy source to power the turbine. It is a beautiful location so be sure to walk on the property behind the mill. It is truly nature at its finest. Of course seeing swans for me was an exciting event being that I am from southern Ohio (Cincinnati).
Hours: Middle of June through Labor Day.
Click Here for the Yarmouth Historical Commission website.
Call the Yarmouth Historical Commission at (508) 398-2231 ext. 1292
to make sure the the mill will be open when you intend to visit.
Click Here for The Historical Society of Old Yarmouth website.
Address: Baxter Grist Mill 151 SR 28, West Yarmouth, MA 02673. The mill sits close to the road on the north side.
Click Here to see Baxter Grist Mill at Google Maps
Check out the Google Map of Baxter - It is beautiful.
You can see Swan Pond, the stream that goes under Route 28 into an inlet and out into the Atlantic Ocean - Spectacular !

Baxter Grist Mill. Historical Society of Old Yarmouth. Yarmouth Port, MA 2001.
Beals, Fred. Windmill List. Society for the Preservation of Old Mills. Mishawaka IN. 2002.
Baxter Grist Mill.