Obadiah La Tourette Grist and Sawmill/Washington Township Land Trust
12 East Mill Road
Long Valley, NJ 07853
My review on TripAdvisor:
Video on the Obadiah La Tourette Grist & Sawmill
I visited the Obadiah La Tourette Grist & Sawmill during a visit to Long Valley, NJ for Morris County’s “Pathway to History” tour and this was one of the most unusual and interesting sites on the tour. The mill was once one of the most active businesses in the area. The Mill processed and packaged flour for the areas farmers making it one of the most profitable businesses in the region. By the end of WWII, the Mill was itself was becoming antiquated and larger producers could make the product for far less money and the business closed.
The Obadiah La Tourette Mill
The Mill itself it is getting a renovation, and, on the tour, I took, you could visit all three floors of the Mill and see how the product was made. On the first floor is where some of the processing took place.
The first floor now greets you where it once served as the Receiving area
The wheat was brought in, processed and milled. One of the machines is still in the building. This is where the raw product was brought in for processing into flour.
Processing the flour
The bottom level is where are all machinery is where the power source of the stream moved all the equipment along.
This was really interesting because the stream still lies underneath the mill and you can see the flow of water throughout the bottom of the building as it had over 100 years ago. This is how Mother Nature did her part before electricity.
History of the Obadiah La Tourette Mill Restoration:
(From the Washington Trust Pamphlet)
The Mill was built in circa 1750 and owned by Philip Weise. The Mill was essential to the economy and development of German Valley and the surrounding agricultural community. For much of its history, it was the most successful business in the village, grinding grain and producing flour and animal feed. A sawmill was located behind the grist mill during the 1800’s.
Originally powered by two water wheels, the mill was converted to turbine power by owner Obadiah La Tourette in the 1870’s. Milling operations continued until the early 1940’s. Most of the machinery remains, reflecting the history of milling over 200 years.
The stream is the power source of the Mill
In 1991, the Washington Township Land Trust purchased the condemned building and embarked upon its restoration with the aid of volunteers, grants and generous donations. The current scope of work is being funded by a grant from the Morris County Historic Preservation Trust Fund. It includes the restoration of structural framing, soffit trim, doors and siding of the street facade; restoration of some first-floor beams and joists and restoration of thirteen windows.
The Mill in 1993
The History of the Washington Township Land Trust:
(From the Washington Trust Pamphlet)
The Washington Township Land Trust of Morris County, NJ was organized in 1990 and incorporated in 1991 as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. It is exclusively for charitable, educational and scientific purposes, to protect and preserve the lands, watercourses, ponds, streams and structures which contribute to the natural beauty and rural character of Washington Township.
To achieve this, the Land Trust acquires interests in land through purchase or donation, manages land uses for the benefit of the public and makes itself available to the Township of Washington to assist in the stewardship of public lands and easements.
In 1991, the Land Trust acquired the Obadiah La Tourette Mill and the surrounding ten acres of land, now preserved as a wetlands park. A portion of the park has been set aside as a memorial garden for Helen Andrews, a longtime resident of Long Valley and wife of Stan Andrews. The Land Trust also administers the issuance of easement markers for Washington Township and may in the future expand its operation to the monitoring of easements.
The Land Trust provides education to the public on various preservation issues such as conservation easements and other topics of value. Lastly, the Land Trust works with other land trusts, open space groups and conservation organizations to provide an organized approach to meet our common goals.
Washington Township Land Trust
P.O. Box 4
Long Valley, NJ 07853-0004
Phone: (908) 876-5986