Tide Mill Institute

2015 Tide Mill Institute Conference, November 6-7

CONFERENCE LOCATION - We will meet at a doubly-historic location in Beverly. CUMMNGS CENTER is right across the street from the site of a 17th century tide mill. Built in 1904, the CENTER is itself of historic importance as one of the most significant early reinforced concrete industrial buildings in America, for years the home of the famous United Shoe Machinery works. And YES, that’s a tide mill’s stone at its corner!TMI’s 11th conference to be in Beverly MA

The Friend Mill, Beverly, Massachusetts--courtesy Beverly Historical Society

Titled “TIDE MILL ARCHAEOLOGY AND HERITAGE,” this year’s TMI conference will be held November 6 & 7 in Beverly Massachusetts, just across the street from the location of a historic grist mill whose foundation details are clearly visible in the mud. Archaeologists who have recently studied the site will help conduct a field trip to the site. Once again this conference will offer a molinological pot pourri, exploring the heritage of tide mills internationally and locally and mixing a wide variety of presentations from established researchers and newcomers. See next page for more details.

Highlights of TMI’s 11th conference

• “NENDRUM – The Oldest Tide Mill in the World” - The featured tide mill at this year’s TIDE MILL INSTITUTE conference is almost fourteen hundred years old! Its bed-logs were cut from an Irish forest in the year 619 AD, half way between the time of St. Patrick and King Alfred the Great. The mill was part of an ancient monastery at Nendrum, Northern Ireland, which underwent some early archaeological study in the 1920’s. But an awareness and full understanding of the tide mill (actually there were two of them) wasn’t pinned down until a chance discovery in 1999 revealed a piece of 7-12th century ceramic and a fragment of a granite mill-stone. Two more years of intense work in the tidal mud and 6 more of follow-up study proved out the fascinating details, which weren’t published until 2007.
Thomas McErlean, an archaeological research fellow at the University of Ulster led that archaeological study. Those who were lucky to hear his spellbinding presentation abou that work at our 4th conference in 2008 still remember it. We’re thrilled that he was able to arrange his busy schedule to once again visit and will share his story with today’s larger and more diverse TMI audience.

• “TIDE POWER IN COLONIAL BOSTON” – Duane Lucia, curator of Boston’s West End Museum will offer insight into that town’s early tide mill history and describe how he gathered material and produced an exceptional exhibit about the topic. (See a report about the exhibit on a later page.)

• “224 YEARS OF TIDE MILLING ON BEVERLY’S BASS RIVER” – Darren Brown, curator of Beverly Historic Society, popular tide mill savant John Gaff and archaeologist Suzanne Chereau, who has worked on the site, will triple team this topic with a lecture, a low-tide field trip and a visit to the historical society’s exhibit about this nearby tide mill.

• “FINDING SOMERVILLE’S MISSING TIDE MILL” – Richard Duffy, expert on the mills of the Boston area’s Mystic River, will share his research on a local mill that’s hard to pinpoint geographically and historically.

• “Á MAINE TIDE MILL THAT SPAWNED A CANAL” TMI president Bud Warren describes a tidal saw mill that morphed into a canal, in an attempt to connect two river systems and draw on the unlimited timber resources of interior Maine.


It worked last year. Let’s repeat it, and give everyone a chance to shine! The idea is simple - you like tide mills; tell others in the fellowship at November’s conference about what interests you.
Last year several newcomers to the tide mill scene shared their experiences finding historic tide mill sites in their areas. At an informal Friday afternoon session this year, participants will be invited to share information, stories and photos of interesting tide mills that they’ve studied, visited or found. Everyone’s invited to join in!

The key word is “informal.” Everything goes –from Power Point presentation to handing around old photos or simply retelling an old story you heard from your grandfather. The idea is to make it time of sharing among friends!

DON’T BE SHY! PLEASE help in planning this session by letting us all know what you can offer. Send a MILLSTONES quick email to info@tidemillinstitute.org