Mill Damaged
The wild waters ripped panels off the historic Brayton Mill in Pomfret. Courtesy photo.

By Linda Lemmon
Town Crier Editor
POMFRET — Last weekend’s high waters ripped through the bottom level of the historic Brayton Mills at the entrance of Mashamoquet Brook State Park.
The grist mill, built around 1890 by William Brayton, also houses the Marcy Blacksmith Museum.
The mill is owned by the state but managed by the Pomfret Historical Society, according to society President John Charest. The society operates tours of the mill.
Charest said the panels were ripped off in a couple places on the mill. That is not too concerning,” he said; however “We need to see if any beams or columns were affected.”
He said the four-story building is “basically resting on stone.” In 1984, he said, some concrete was added in addition to some 8x8 inch wood beams (probably custom made by Hull) and some columns.
Charest said carpenters can “shore up” anything needed. The state may bring in an expert to make sure it doesn’t have any structural problems.
According to the Pomfret Historical Society’s webpage, the mill is a post-and-beam frame structure, four stories in height, with a gabled roof and clapboarded exterior.
The mill is no longer functional. However, the equipment remains and includes the critical components of a functioning grist mill. These include:
A sub-level (below grade) a 19th-century turbine mounted in a wooden frame
In the lowest level are the wooden gears that transferred power to the main shaft to turn the millstone.
The second level of the mill houses controls for gearing the turbine’s power shaft down to equipment working speed to drive the millstone
The third level housed water drive wood milling equipment at one time. It now houses a collection of blacksmithing tools and equipment from Orin Marcy whose blacksmithing shop was across from the Brayton Mill.
Mashamoquet Brook was the site of a number of early mills, dating at least as far back as 1816. This mill was built by Brayton from materials salvaged from older mills that were on the site. It is the last surviving mill of several that are known to have lined Mashamoquet Brook. Brayton died in 1928 and the state purchased the property in 1930 as part of an enlargement of the state park.
The mill is one of the best-preserved 19th-century rural grist mills in the state. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.


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