cover of book

Historic Watermills of North America: A Visual Preservation
by Ken Boyd
photographs by Ken Boyd
University of Alabama Press, 2021
Cloth: 978-0-8173-2015-7 | eISBN: 978-0-8173-9254-3
Library of Congress Classification TJ859.B69 2020
Dewey Decimal Classification 621.21097

112 full-color artistic photographs of watermills still standing on the North American landscape
The scenic beauty of the watermill is undeniable. The iconic waterwheel has inspired romantics for generations with their warmth and charm. Watermills were once ubiquitous landmarks along brooks, creeks, and rivers across North America. Today, only a scattering of the old watermills grace the countryside, but through these mills, and the turning of their wheels and the whirling of their stones, a small but spectacular part of history lives on.
Through stunningly beautiful images, Historic Watermills of North America: A Visual Preservation presents 112 watermills still standing on the North American landscape. With idealized full-color photographs, Ken Boyd nostalgically hearkens back to a time after European settlement when these structures were the very heart of the communities whose livelihoods they made possible. These mills turned the power of flowing water into mechanical energy to grind corn and wheat into meal and flour, saw timber, loom wool and cotton cloth, and more for the benefit of their operators and communities.
At one time vital to their surrounding regions, most of these surviving mills are in rural areas that have been passed over by modern development. Their designs are as individual as their makers, and their settings are as varied as the landscape. Some have been converted into homes or museums or are part of local tourist attractions. Others have been abandoned but give witness to the significance of their heydays, and others are still in use, doing the same work they have done for generations.
Boyd’s beautifully rendered photographs preserve these extant structures and represent a variety of watermills across the United States and Canada. Each mill photograph is accompanied by a description providing the name of the mill, its location, date of construction, and brief comments highlighting its most noteworthy features. Additional photographs and commentary in the afterword explore the inner workings of watermills.

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