By Jan Sevene, Monadnock Localvores
Water! We drink it, we bath in it, we swim in it, and we use it for our livestock and to grow our food. And for centuries, man has used it successfully as a natural resource to power industries. Hancock’s Charles Daloz is trying to revive one of these industries, and take it a step further.
At one time, the New England hills were covered with rushing streams tumbling down rocky slopes dotted with water-powdered mills and filled with scurrying hired hands busy manufacturing everything from wooden clothespins to boxes, pails and barrels. One of those mills is what is now known as the Daloz Mill, in the family since 1958.
Located on Ferguson Brook, according to Daloz it is the last of three known structures on that site. In 1900, the second mill’s beams were incorporated into the current structure, a mill used for the manufacture of boxes and barrels for the apple trade. Water still drives two turbines (a third was removed in the sixties). “A smaller Francis turbine still runs the machinery,” Daloz explains. “A newer 12-inch cross-flow turbine is limited to powering the lights for the building. The mill? It’s still operating. Right now we’re making bushel boxes with water power.”
Because the old building and its aging machinery need attention, keeping its use limited, Daloz has a vision to “give the mill a life of its own.” His objective: an operating mill for processing wood and agricultural products using hydro-electric power, combined with an educational center to demonstrate and study the use of water-power and alternative energy technologies. Working to create a Friends of the Mill group, he says, “We can use all sorts of skills: mechanics, welders, carpenters, and planning and administrative people for this non-profit venture. For those people who like this kind of stuff, it’s interesting and fun.”
Daloz also practices sustainable farming at the Daloz Farm organic CSA gardens. The CSA is still taking members. Contact Charles Daloz for more information, and to schedule a visit to the CSA and historic mill.
Other Water Ventures in New Hampshire:
Chamberlain Springs LLC
Pure, clean spring water
166 Old Wolfeboro Road
Alton, NH 03809
Sunny Slope Farm
118 Old Wolfeboro Rd.
Alton, NH 03089