The Asbury Grist Mill forms much of the early industrial character of the Franklin Township, Village of Asbury. Since the mill's construction along the Musconetcong River circa 1865 as a gristmill the building has characterized the early industrial might of New Jersey with its use of water wheel and later, turbine to power the early machines of industry.
The Asbury Grist Mill was acquired by Henry M. Riddle in 1895 who converted the building and machinery to process graphite. An interesting part of the conversion was the replacement of the wooden water wheel with a (then) state-of-the-art cast iron horizontal Leffel turbine. The turbine is still in place in the basement of the mill.
Production in the mill ceased in the 1970's at which time all graphite milling was transferred to the current manufacturing plant across the Musconetcong River. In 1999, the MWA took title to the Mill as a donation from the Riddle family, owners of Asbury Carbons, along with 3.5 acres of property and two other buildings, one of which the MWA adapted to become our U.S. Green Building Council LEED-certified Platinum River Resource Center.
Currently we are in the process of restoring the Asbury Grist Mill to functional reuse. Over the past few years the MWA received several grants, which are partially funding the restoration. More fundraising will be required to complete the project.
Work is already well underway on Phase I of the restoration. This first phase involves stabilizing the structure, demolishing the non-historic sheds, restoring the tailrace and deck area, and constructing a retaining wall. Once this phase is complete the restored area will be used for recreational purposes including fishing and boating. We're targeting Phase I completion for the October - November 2014 time frame.
In Phase II the exterior of the mill will be restored, including re-pointing of the masonry, repair of the stucco coating, and replacement of the doors and windows. In Phase III we will restore the interior for adaptive reuse. The restored first floor will be a classroom with a portion of the area dedicated as exhibit space for early mill and agricultural technology. The upper floors will be converted to office space.
We invite you to join us in supporting this exciting project! Donations will be gratefully accepted and put to good use. We would also appreciate any donations of your time to assist in this exciting project. To make a donation please click Asbury Mill Project and scroll to "Asbury Mill Challenge" in the online form.