Croghan, Lewis County
Oldest continuously operating water-powered lumber mill in New York State
The Croghan Island Mill, now owned and operated by the Martin family, is the last remaining traditional water-powered commercial lumber mill in New York State. Built sometime before 1840 on Croghan Island in the Beaver River, it is one of several mills to be built nearby over the years. The original log crib dam was constructed in 1848; the current double dam was built circa 1906. Logging, lumbering and sawmills were long a very important part of Croghan life. The Croghan Island Mill has always manufactured wooden window sashes and blinds and other millwork. Today, besides the work they do for local residents repairing and replacing millwork, the highly skilled Martins produce custom-made pieces for architects and builders with special orders for new construction or historic preservation projects. The collection of machinery—much of it at least a century old—is remarkable and fully operable. Recently, for safety reasons the adjacent dam was threatened with demolition by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. After the DEC removed several stop logs from the dam as a first step, the Croghan community rallied to support outside funding for the rehabilitation of the dam for hydropower in the village. With a grant from the US Department of Agriculture and local contributions, a detailed engineering study of the dam was undertaken in 2012, with first reports indicating that it is low risk for flooding. If the dam is removed, the mill will likely no longer operate with waterpower, so final results from the study are critical to the mill’s future.