Tide Mill Institute

8th Annual Tide Mill Conference was held November 9th-10th, 2012, Bath, Maine 

The Power of the Tides, 1194-2012

About 75 people attended the 2012 Tide Mill Institute conference held in Bath, Maine, a real hub of tide mill activity through the years. More than thirty sites have been documented in a radius of nine miles.

An exciting pre-conference treat began at noon on Friday November 9th, offering early arrivals a close-up look at remains of a number of interesting tide mill sites in the area.

This year’s keynote speaker was Simon Davis from MOLA, the Museum of London Archaeology. He was involved in the archaeological discovery of a Thames River Anglo Saxon era tide mill in 2009. Because more exploration of that site will happen later this summer, he will be able to offer the latest findings. For details on the discovery, see the November 2009 issue of Current Archaeology, Issue 236.

John Goff presented the history of Winnegance, perhaps the greatest concentration of tidal sawmills in the world, where eight separate double sawmills sat on one dam. John Morse, sixth-generation sawyer shared the story of his family’s Winnegance area tide mill. The day’s program ended with field trips to these sites and to the 1716-1928 Potter/ Spinney mill site in nearby Arrowsic.

Arrowsic - Spinney/Potter 2010

Fred Gralenski described his search for details of a 19th century tide mill on Pennamaquan River in Pembroke, and Todd Griset spoke about a tidal power project being proposed for the same waters today.

A special invitation to this event was offered to historical societies along the coast of Maine, for most coastal towns boasted tide mills. The conference turned out to be a great opportunity for learning about these early examples of America’s industrial heritage.

Map of the Bath Maine area, showing its many tide mill sites.

Winnegance 1890s