Usually, there’s not a lot to say about the Joel Hill Sawmill once the October open house is over, and all the delicious MacMaster cider has been drunk, and all the doughnuts have been consumed. The beauty of the colored leaves around the pond is gone now; the leaves are all floating in the pond, or sliding over the dam.
Dan and I paid our yearly visit to the structure to take down the colorful sign and store it inside where the wind can’t weather it any further. We picked up a few branches, collected a couple of stray pieces of wood, and checked the locks, but before we could climb back into the pickup, they started to arrive. Visitors! We had nearly a full house before the day was done, to our utter amazement.
The first guests included the editor of the Boyerstown Bulletin, who displayed extraordinary knowledge of old mills and how they work.
Dan was delighted with this new audience and happily took the man and his friend on a tour of the mill while they discussed its operation. I tried in vain to recruit him to the sawmill crew. At that point I had no idea how far they had come to visit. Pocketing his business card and promising to keep in touch, the next visitors arrived – an area grandmother and her young grandson, who was just the perfect age to tour the mill and ask questions. Tours finished, we relocked the gate and more visitors arrived. By this time it was growing late and chilly, so we did a quick outside tour. They marveled at the beauty of the waterfall which was in full pour, and promised to visit again in the summer. She said that she always brings her guests to see the mill, but only once chanced by when it was open. It does make one wonder how many more folks would stop to visit if we could be open more hours. All we would need is a few more volunteers.~Linda Wescott