Discover the art and science of early industrial crafting on Sat., Aug. 22, at the historic Cooper Gristmill in Chester Township during the annual “Industrial Crafts Day’’ event sponsored by the Morris County Park Commission. Demonstrations of blacksmithing, tinsmithing by George Pierson, and tin piercing by Frank and Anita Mai are just some of the events that will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Try weaving and spinning, or creating a tinpierced craft to take home from crafters. Items may also be available for purchase. Admission to the event is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors (65+), and $1 for children (ages 4 – 16). Children under four are admitted free. For more information, call 908.879.5463, or visit www.morrisparks.net.
The address is 74 County Rd 513, Chester. The stretch of the Black River on which the Cooper Gristmill is situated is well-suited for the operation ofwater-powered mills. In the 1760’s, Isaiah Younglove began a flour milling operation on the site that lasted until 1788. During the years, the mill went through several owners and was damaged by fire.
The present mill was built in 1826 by Nathan Cooper, with its water wheel, power shafts, and 2,000-poundmillstone. Current day visitors to the historic site can watch the gristmill in action, with a master miller, in period costume, explaining the history of the mill and the vibrant community once called Milltown, whichthrived in the late 19th Century.
In addition to regular tours of the mill, there also are seasonal events and exhibits such as blacksmithing, stone dressing, machine demonstrations andthe rare opportunity of seeing both mill stones being run at the same time. Industrial Crafts Day is just one of the many events.
The gristmill is open to the public from May through Oct. when guided tours of the mill, as well as a variety of educational programs and demonstrations are offered.
The non-profit Friends of Fosterfields and Cooper Gristmill supports and promotes the development of Cooper Gristmill. Extensive information about their activities is available through its Facebook site.