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September 27, 2012

Hanford Mills Harvest Festival to feature restored water turbine

Hanford Mills Museum will host the Miller’s Harvest Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.   Sunday, Oct. 7. According to a release from the museum, the festival features a farmers’ market, traditional crafts, entertainment, refreshments, children’s activities, horse-drawn wagon rides, guided mill tours, and the first public operation of the mill’s restored water turbine.

The festival also offers a once-a-year opportunity to see the water-powered 1912 gristmill in action.

The restored 19th century water turbine offers visitors an added example of power generation at Hanford Mills, along with the Fitz Overshot water wheel, the steam power plant, and a dynamo that generates electric power.

“It’s been about a century since a water turbine has been a power source at Hanford Mills,” museum executive director Liz Callahan said in the release. “Bringing this power technology back involved working with experts in the fields of historic archaeology, water power transmission, engineering, and mill preservation, including engineer Joe Michaels and mill restoration expert Jim Kricker.”

She explained that a pipe called a penstock was fabricated and installed this summer to draw water from the millpond to the turbine pit, located beneath the mill.

The water drives the turbine, causing it to spin at a rate of more than 170 rotations per minute.

“We’re delighted how well the project turned out, and eager to have the public come to Hanford Mills and see how power can be generated by the turbine,” Callahan said.

The turbine historically powered the millstone (grist) mill, a scroll saw, and an edger and will be used to power these vintage machines again. Callahan said that though the mill pond was low in the summer, there is now enough water to run both the turbine and the water wheel.

Videos of the installation and first test run of the water turbine can be found at

The Miller’s Harvest Festival also features artisans, who will be demonstrating and selling traditional crafts, including knitting, Native American jewelry, and woodworking. The Farmers’ Market, which includes Promisedland Farm, Shaver-Hill Farm, The Farmer’s Wife, and Byebrook Farm, will feature cheese, pies, jams, maple products, baked goods, and more. The Blue Ribbon Cloggers will perform at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm.

Kids can try out the museum’s corn sheller and quern (a corn grinder) and then feed the cornmeal to chickens on loan for the day from La Basse Cour Farm in South Kortright.

There will also be seasonal children’s crafts and activities.

The Museum’s 70-acre site will be open to explore. More information on events at Hanford Mills Museum is available on the web site,, or by calling 800/295-4992.

Hanford Mills Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, and on holiday Mondays, from 10 am to 5 pm, through Oct. 14.  Admission for children 12 and under and Hanford Mills Museum members is free. Adult and teen admission is $8.50, seniors, $6.50; active and retired military; $4.25.

Hanford Mills Museum is located at 51 County Hwy 12, at the intersection of Delaware County Routes 10 and 12 in East Meredith, 10 miles from Oneonta, and 15 miles from Delhi.

 For information, visit or call 278-5744.


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