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May 9, 2015 12:17 PM

Claremont demolition job uncovers antique tools and mill equipment


CLAREMONT — A demolition job turned into a historical treasure hunt after workers found antique tools and machinery in the attic of an old mill building slated for destruction.
Pine Hill Construction, owned by Mike Lemieux, made the discovery and what was supposed to be a three-day job to raze the building is now expected to take much longer, he told the Union Leader.
“The demolition job turned into a dismantling job,” Lemieux said. “It’s what needed to be done ... We realized how significant the structure was.”
Among the items recovered from the former grist mill on Pleasant Street was an industrial flour sifter, and plans are underway to get it working again and included in a display of old technology.
Gerald DeMuro, president of Northern Heritage Mills in South Acworth, is planning to create an educational center in Claremont that will display some of the finds along with other items.

“Our goal in the bigger project — when we develop the educational demonstration center — the goal is to inspire, encourage and engage young people to consider the art and design of engineering, science and technology career paths,” he said. “So the historical technology and other historical technology that we save will be used as educational tools to teach about science, engineering and math principals.”

Lemieux is taking the delay in stride. “We need to preserve our history, and it’s just the right thing to do,” Lemieux said.

DeMuro said D. Whiting & Sons built the gristmill in 1904 and was state-of-the-art at the time. It was one of many gristmills owned by the company throughout the state at that time.


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