The Townsend Mill

Mill Operations

Construction began in 1901 on the first sawmill, which began operations in 1903. The mainline ran basically east/west along the river, and the mill complex lay just south. The mill complex consisted of the sawmill building, a steam power plant and a planing mill to produce finished lumber.

MillComplex.jpg (18710 bytes)The railroad shops were located along the south through track, along with a wye for turning locomotives. This track also ran along the pond, where log trains dumped their loads down an embankment to the water. Storing logs in the pond kept them from drying out and checking (splitting) before they were milled.

Finished lumber was transported on elevated tramways to the drying stacks, north and west of the mill. Later, the cured lumber was loaded in boxcars and shipped to the connection with the Knoxville and Augusta (Southern Railway) in Walland, 8 miles to the west.

0408UnloadingLogsPond.jpg (18933 bytes)         3437CrewLumberCars.jpg (20450 bytes)        0411DryingStacks.jpg (17284 bytes)

   Unloading Logs at Pond           Trams with Lumber Headed for Stacks         Lumber Drying Stacks     

3903InspectingPoplarBoard.jpg (15735 bytes)                   3902WidePoplarBoards.jpg (16374 bytes)

     Inspecting  Poplar Boards                               Wide Poplar Boards at Mill      

Once the lumber was loaded into the boxcars, the boxcars were sealed with a metal strip as shown below

The seal measures 8 inches long and 3/8 inches wide.

Mill History

In all, there were three mills built at the site, the first two being lost to fires, and the third dismantled in 1939 at the end of operations. The first mill burned in 1906, just as construction began up the East Prong gorge. The second mill burned ten years later in 1916. The planing mill burned in 1919, but the mill was spared.

2114Mill3FromRoofADJ.jpg (14960 bytes)       1807Mill1PondDamaged.jpg (30809 bytes)     0409Mill3PondSplash.jpg (9701 bytes)

  Mill Complex Looking East                      Mill and Pond                                      Mill and Pond                         

0508Mill1Burner.jpg (16236 bytes)                     0701Mill1Pond.jpg (19974 bytes) 

                               Mill Complex Looking North                                              Mill and Pond                                          

    3489Mill2.jpg (25724 bytes)                         4902MillConstruction.jpg (14359 bytes)

                                          Mill and Pond                                                     Mill Under Construction                              


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