Woohoo! That's all i could think when the scaffolding came down Monday revealing the Mill's North wall.
It was a lot to take in... as my mind adjusting to the new stucco, the bring red windows, and doors. No longer did the Mill show a crumbling façade, instead, it debuted a "new" old mill.
External work is usually conducted relatively late in a historical restoration project like our Mill. Although considerable work had been done to the interior to restore structural stability, that work is now largely unnoticeable because it is a replacement of what was already there. You might notice the lighter shades of the replacement beams and supports, but the cement basement floor looks like it has always been there.
When the outside gets a major facelift, like the East and North wall windows and stucco, the change is very apparent. I grew up here and had gotten used to the Mill’s ramshackle look whenever I came to the Maple Avenue and Old Main Street intersection. After I took this photo, I stood rooted in place, taking in the excitement of the changes that erased nearly 40 years of memory. You are invited to Post to the Mill Facebook group to let us know what you think or notice about the changes.
MWA is very lucky to be working with such skilled craftsmen. Three generations of the Breslin family work together on the site, as P. Breslin Masonry, and come from a long line of Irish stonemasons. They have a love for the work and an artistic eye which is visible in the stone retaining wall in the parking lot. Paul Grefe and Ray Vomacha, of Herman Grefe and Son, Inc. are experts in their own right. Paul was the millwright that restored the Red Mill in Clinton and has a true love for the form and function of mills. Ray and Paul trimmed the roof on the north wall using a stained cedar to match the other weathered wood. There is also nice architectural detail on the roof eave over the mill hoist.
Seeing these two walls completed is an impressive milestone. Now the masons are moving to the west wall, which will remain as bare stone – the only wall that was never stuccoed. Later this summer they will move to the South wall along the river. Replacement windows will be going in on each wall.
We are probably just over halfway through the Asbury Mill restoration and adaptive re-use. Once the exterior is completed, plans will be drawn up for the interior. The challenges of this next phase are to adapt a former industrial building (that was dark, unheated, and without running water to modern standards. You can help support the Mill’s ongoing work by volunteering with the Mill Team, making a donation, and attending this year’s Mill Fundraiser dinner scheduled for Thursday, December 5th. Thank you to our funders, NJ Historic Trust, Warren County, Franklin Township, and private donors, and all the volunteers who have been working on the Mill throughout its restoration!