History Comes to Life at Leonard’s Mills 

Folks at the Maine Forest and Logging Museum at Leonard’s Mills in Bradley have added more pieces of the past to their living history site.The goal of Leonard’s Mills is to keep Maine’s forest and logging history alive and recreated authentic pioneer milling communities of yester-year.”We are trying to preserve as much of this old stuff, before it all gets sent to the junk yard.” Says Vernon Shaw, site manager for Leonard’s Mills.The museum is one step closer to that goal, with the addition of a clapboard mill to the site.”Another name would be siding for a building. Laid horizontally, and nailed on, and this machinery here makes them the old fashion way. There isn’t very much of this particular machinery left anymore. Some of it used to be built right here in the city of Bangor. It no longer is and hasn’t been for probably 60 or 70 years now.” says Shaw.This antique machine was actually in operation until last fall, and the clapboards it makes are still in demand by folks who restore old buildings.Shaw says, “This particular kind made by this machine were radially cut.”This clapboard mill dates back to the early 1900’s. The museum also has a saw mill from that time period, and they’re waiting to get a shingle machine and plaining mill. When the set up is done organizers hope it will help bring the era to life for visitors.Shaw says, “If somebody can come and see how a board was cut on one of these mills, or how a clapboard was actually made in that era, I think that’s where our great benefit will be, and then the other side of the coin is it’s just plain fun for us!”