This mill stood across a stream where I grew up (Fall River in Bernardston, MA, USA) until I was about 5 or 6 (mid 1960’s) I remember a big boom early in the morning on a spring day when the water was high from the yearly snow runoff. My father was just going to work and turned around to tell us what had happened. The tall mill that had fallen into disrepair had collapsed to the ground. Many years I fished below the log dam across from where the mill had stood.

Old cutlery mill Bernardston, MA

Old Hurlbert cutlery mill in Bernardston, MA

Watercolor of cutlery mill in Bernardston, MA

Watercolor painting of Old Hurlbert cutlery mill in Bernardston, MA

The painting is from an old photograph that I had acquired. It shows the men posing along the river near the building where they worked. Also to note is the overhanging section on the 3rd floor that I’m told was their outhouse. No shoveling out was necessary as it projected over the river below!

For all of you history buffs:
The mill was at the site of an old foundry. It was purchased in 1853 by E. S. Hurlbert. He began making steel hoes, corn knives and rakes with his crew of 15. The business expanded and he expanded to make brick and plastering trowels and also a fine line of cutlery.

Through my younger years, I would search along the bank opposite the mill and find the glass handles that were most likely discarded because of some defect. I’m thankful for the rich history that surrounded my childhood and the opportunity to paint this piece of the past!