Sunday, March 6, 2011

Old Baker's Mill Revisited !!

The Randolph and Baker Company with its combined sawmill and limekiln was the lifeblood of local economy in Randolph and surrounding area from roughly 1870 through until the 1930s when it burned to the ground. A mill of somewhat more modest proportions was constructed in the aftermath .... and I believe this to be the structure that still haunts my early childhood memories ...... a partial smokestack to boot !! However , this is a bit foggy so I shall check it all out one of these days at the library by reading through old newspapers and report back to my readers. Note the "clear cut" on the hills behind the mill. The limestone was extracted from a quarry just out of sight on the South Bay side of the peninsula ..... still quite visible today when driving to Dominion Park.

Sitting here on the "hurricane deck"(top floor) of the Fort Howe Building .... sipping my morning or evening coffee I look out northwesterly over the rooftops of the Old Noth End .... upriver with Milford ( Pleasant Point ) on my left and the cliffs of dear old Pokiok on my right ...... and Greenhead dead ahead as a backdrop. A century ago I would be gazing out at a huge , spread out complex ... a thriving lumber mill and limekiln as shown in the above photos ....... nowadays scattered debris and rubble overgrown with and hidden by deciduous trees,evergreen trees and thick undergrowth. From what I can surmise after walking into the site on the presque isle of Greenhead ( See post Baker's Mill , September 1, 2010) and by examining old photos ( See post October 4 ), the premises of the old mill seen in the above pictures ..... stretched out from just inside the lip of Mosquito Cove  upstream some 300 to 350 yards ...... just beyond where the Narrows begin. Nowadays there is not much left of yesteryear's glory .... ´heaps of old bricks from the smokestack and burners , rusting chains and wire cables, piles of rubbage, ringbolts for mooring ships and scows ,here and there lava-like mounds of "molten" lime, and a shoreline riddled with the jutting remains of rotting wharf timbers .... some below and some above the water line keeping rhythm with the rise and fall of tidal waters. I'm putting a few photos here for your perusal.

It is with much dismay and gnashing of teeth that I must admit, dear friends , " This time I bit off more than I can chew !" I started out with the firm intention of introducing my readers to a lesser known and rarely seen part of Pokiok ..... the rugged shoreline between Miller's or Robertson's Point and The Farms as viewed from Old Baker's Mill on the opposite side of the river in Greenhead ... and commenting in my usual fashion about the whole shebang. However , I got carried away in my introduction and added many pictures of the old ruins so ...... not wishing to test the patience of my "faithful" with an overly lengthy epistle and trimmings, I shall explore and comment Pokiok's rocky Narrows shoreline in my next post 


  1. Sylvia Johnston SpencerMarch 8, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    Enjoyed, as usual, your work.

    Your view from your apartment must be wonderful.

    It was nice of you to call and to have a little chat, and I will look forward to your next blogs.


  2. Thank you , Sylvia.... and yes, the moment I walked into this apartment I jumped for joy at the panoramic view of the whole hinterland spreading out before me .... and especially for having Pokiok looming up not too far away.
    It was truly great to finally speak to you after all these years and I am looking forward to our meeting some time soon to share a coffee and a hug.

  3. Hi Gerry, Got your email, also read your new blog, and the pictures.of Bakers Mill. Art Mcguire used to take groceries, every Saturday to Wallace Family there,and we would go for the drive.To get there you would cross the little bridge, turn right and drive down the sawdust road,which was made out of sawdust from the mill and waste lime stone from the quarry. it was almost like a country lane . The wallace family lived there, the Haywards, the Phillips family, I remember the Limekiln was still going, [and it seams like only yesterday]... So I will say bye for now, Your ......OLD.OLD.OLD. Pokiok friend. Art.................keep up the good work.