Since 1857, Granville Manufacturing Company, known as “The Bowl Mill” has been producing unique one piece hardwood bowls and quartersawn clapboard siding , utilizing the modern technology and machinery of the 19th century. The processes developed and improved here, maximize the raw material’s utility, beauty, and strength while minimizing and recycling the waste.
Vermont has been blessed with a rejuvenated forest of hardwoods over the last century. On mountains of once cleared forests, the hard rock farms supported the original settlers of Vermont. With the opening of lands in the middle and western regions of America, many Vermonters left their homes to seek more fertile land for cultivation. The decline in population led to the regrowth of forests on the Green Mountains, from 80% farmland in 1860 to 80% forest in 1960. These forests of hardwood and softwood led to the development of the lumber industry now an essential component of the Vermont economy.
Many Vermont Lumber Companies produced Wooden Bowls and Clapboard Siding utilizing Vermont Timber, selling their products around the New England Region. Over the years these producers of Bowls and Boards have disappeared from the landscape of Vermont, while the Granville Mill quietly continued the tradition of ingenuity and perseverance in the face of economic cyclicality, floods and fires.
The Mill still contains the original machinery designed in the late 1800’s, now run by electricity instead of water power. The Branch of the White River that runs past the Mill was the original source of power for the Mill. A Dam upstream from the Mill used to run through sluices into a turbine that powered the Mill machinery that was contained within a single three story Mill.
In 1927, Vermont suffered from a devastating flood that washed away the Granville Dam and most Bridges in the White River Valleys of Vermont. The Mill survived, however the water power was replaced by electricity and the Zenas King bridge was restored to its original foundation, the only source of access to the Mill from Granville Corners.
In the 140 year span of operation only four families have owned and operated the Mills. These were the Hemenway, Rice, Howlett, and Fuller families. The continuity of operation over the years has been in large part due to the skills of employees, who passed down their knowledge to various generations of their families, many of whom currently work at the Mill.
For more information about our Mill, visit www.woodsiding.com