New Hampshire Department of Forest and Lands

Beebe River

Taylor Sawmill at Ballard State Forest

Introduction and History

The historic "Taylor Up and Down Sawmill" is a property of the State of New Hampshire and is cooperatively maintained and run by the Division of Parks and Recreation and the Division of Forests and Lands, Planning and Community Forestry Bureau.

taylor sawmill

The Taylor Sawmill is situated on the 71-acre Ballard State Forest in Derry, New Hampshire. Robert Taylor, for whom the mill is Picture21.pngnamed, bought the property in 1799 and began operating an "up and down" sawmill similar to the current one about 1805. We are not sure of exactly when this mill stopped running.

The original mill, for the most part, had been sold for scrap when Ernest R. Ballard purchased the land in 1939. Mr. Ballard searched extensively over much of New England for another "up and down" sawmill and finally found one in Sandown, New Hampshire owned by Dan Hoit. The mill had been disassembled fifty years earlier and was stored under a barn. Mr. Ballard paid $180 for it. He and his wife spent two years assembling it and finding the necessary parts to put it in operating condition.

Unable to get an original water wheel and learning of the astronomical expense of getting another built by hand, Mr. Ballard purchased a water wheel from a firm in Hanover, Pennsylvania, the Fitz Water Company, for $3,000. The wheel was 6 feet wide, 12 feet in diameter, weighed about 1,000 pounds, and had 40 buckets.

The capacity of this sawmill is limited to logs 12 feet in length and 34 inches in diameter. The mill operates at about 60 strokes per minute. The log carriage feeds the saw at about 3/8 inch per stroke. Records indicate that other up and down sawmills were capable of sawing logs up to 38 feet in length with a diameter substantially larger than the capacity of the Taylor Mill.

This entire property, including the sawmill, the house nearby, and 71 acres of land, were very generously donated to the State of New Hampshire in 1953 by Mr. Ballard.

For more information: Contact A.J Dupere, Urban Forestry Center at 45 Elwyn Road, Portsmouth, N.H. 03801-5701, telephone (603) 431-6774.

Educational Programs

The Mill will be open to the public from 10AM to 4PM on the following dates in 2020: June 13 and 27, July 11 and 25, August 8 and 22, September 12. Due to COVID 19 concerns visitors are required to remain outside of the mill building to observe demonstrations.

Demonstrations dependent upon available water and wood.

Please call Urban Forestry Center for information at 603-431-6774.


Taylor Mill (Ballard State Forest) - The Taylor Mill is located in the Ballard State Forest on Island Pond Road in Derry, New Hampshire. Directions to the mill from I-93: Exit 4 East on Rte. 102 to Rte. 28 By-Pass South. At 2nd set of lights, take left on to Island Pond Road. The mill is 3.7 miles on the left.

NH Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and the NH Division of Forests and Lands | 172 Pembroke Road, Concord, NH 03301