The Mill at Freedom Falls was built in 1834 by John True on Sandy Stream. The original mill was a single 30 x 37 foot timber frame structure built on a massive granite block foundation, producing some 8,000 bushels of grain per year.
In 1894, the building was converted to a woodturning mill, with various additions added over the years. This business closed in 1967 and the mill was abandoned.
The foundation of the original mill was collapsing under its north wall and the building was sagging badly. All the additions were stick-built without proper foundations and in a state of collapse.
The present owner, Tony Grassi, obtained an option to purchase the mill in 2010. Over the ensuing 18 months, the owner and construction team determined that the main building could be rehabilitated and hydropower restored.
The rehabilitation included rebuilding two foundation walls, rebuilding the timber frame structure under the first floor and reconstruction of the four additions. The dam was repaired and hydropower will be installed in 2014. Meanwhile the owner reached out to the community to learn more about the mill’s history and explore how the building could best contribute to the town. This monumental effort is carefully documented in the excellent David Conover film, Reviving the Freedom Mill, which premiered September 29th at the Camden International Film Festival and which we hope you’ll soon see.
The result is a fully restored structure set up for hydropower housing a school, the office of the Maine Federation of Farmer’s Markets, and a restaurant and carrying with it the future hope of Freedom. For Tony Grassi’s realizing such potential in the town’s hidden gem, generously funding and managing its restoration and working with the community to share the triumph, Maine Preservation is pleased to present a 2013 Honor Award for adaptive use of the Mill at Freedom Falls.