I went to Arcadia Mill the other day. It is a historical site of the “largest 19-th century water-powered industrial complex in Northwest Florida” according to the website. It’s maintained by a local college. I didn’t really know what to expect and figured there’s be some ruins of machinery or buildings. Here’s the sign from the site to tell you some more about it. A lot more info about the site can be found here.
This a drawing of the complex from the visitor’s center showing how it was laid out back in the day. At it’s peak the site generated 900,000 ft of lumber a year which seems like quite a lot. Pine, Juniper, and Cypress was processed here.
Most of the area is overgrown with trees but they have an elevated boardwalk around some of the ruins. There’s signs to be read around the loop pointing out types of trees and what used to be there. One of the signs indicated that we were standing right next to where the lumber mill used to be. I looked around for a bit for anything and finally found these rocks which were the foundation of the building. There were a couple other similar areas and that was about it.
Luckily, there were a few recreations. The mill had a small animal powered railroad for moving timber and there was car and track on display. Log flumes were also used to move the timber around the area.
The mill made use of a water will to run a series of saws to cut the lumber. They had a little recreation that runs off of electricity to show how it would have worked. Unfortunately, it wasn’t running at the time.
It was a pretty simple setup though. The water wheel would have turned a shaft that was probably geared using belts and wheels which would have been connected to various machines. Fro the saws, a crankshaft would have moved the frame holding the saw blades up and down cutting the lumber.
To move logs felled in the area, a carriage like the one shown below would have been used. Chains and hooks hung from the platform between the two large wheels and were used to lift the log to move it.