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Theodore R. Hazen, Pond Lily Mill Restorations & General Overview.

One of the Keepers of History: Charlie Parnell (December 17, 1918 - March 25, 2007).
The Man Behind the Mill: Charles Parnell purchased the Old Mill at Guilford, Oak Ridge, North Carolina, in 1977. In 1983 he married Heidi Brant and they both operated the mill together until their death. Heidi died on August 25th, 2007. He has wanted a mill since playing around one in his native Scotland when he was a boy. He looked all over the country and was just about to give up when service station attendant on Interstate I-85 near Lexington told him about this old mill at Oak Ridge which was in bad need of repairs.

Theodore R. Hazen, Pond Lily Mill Restorations & General Overview.

Theodore R. Hazen is a second generation miller. His father also named Theodore worked in the Venango Roller Mill in Venango, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, and the Central Roller Mill in Waterford, Pennsylvania, when he was a young man. His father constructed mill dams back in the 1930's, and worked on the building of the mill dam at F. A. Drake's Son's Mill, in Drake's Mills, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, which his son would later work in. His grandfather was a hydraulic engineer and superintendent of the Erie Water Works, Erie, Pennsylvania. His other grandfather was a millwright who worked at a brickyard in Erie on Downing Avenue. He also worked at the Nickel Plate Flour Mills which once stood on the East side of Parade Street in Erie, the Wesleyville Mill in Wesleyville, Pennsylvania, and the Harborcreek Mill in Harborcreek, Pennsylvania. His grandfather was also trained in his families trade of violin making, and had practiced this trade in Austria-Hungary (today Slovakia), and in this country.

Pond Lily Mill Restorations was founded in 1984. Originally it had been known as Lyndore Mill Restorations. Once it changed its name to Pond Lily Mill Restorations it primarily did sub-contracting work for the late Charles Howell, 5th generation miller, millwright and millstone dresser from Stratford, Engand, who was employed at Philipsburg Manor Upper Mills as the resident miller in North Tarrytown, New York, for Sleepy Hollow Restorations, and the late Tom Rick of Manitou Machine Works, Inc., of Cold Spring, New York. In 1995, Pond Lily Mill Restorations began to function on its own maintaining its rate sheet from October of 1984 to this present day.

Mr. Hazen learned his trade by being an apprentice miller at Zortman's Flour & Feed Company in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, where he was trained by Ed Zessinger and Art Henry who had worked at Keystone Mill also in Edinboro. During this time and afterwards he worked for F. A. Drake's Son's Mill, in Drake's Mills, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, and further learned his trade from Harry N. Moffat who had 55 years experience working in that mill. Mr. Hazen then worked at the John P. Cable Mill in Cades Cove, Smoky Mountains National Park where he honed his skills at working in a water powered millstone stone mill.

In September of 1984, Ted Hazen began his career in Washington, D.C. working for the National Park Service at Peirce Mill in Rock Creek Park. He became the miller, millwright, millstone dresser, milling curator, lead interpreter, and site supervisor along with wearing many other different hats. He had always been intrigued by mills of all kinds perhaps by hearing his one grandfather talk about them back in Slovakia. There were more than the traditional water powered mills, but wind mills and boat or floating mills on the nearby river to his hometown.

Ted Hazen spent the next 6 months overhauling Peice Mill to get the mill operating again after it had been out of operation for 5 years. Some of the machinery had not worked in 5 years, some of it had not worked in 30 years, and some of it had never worked. Besides producing a wide range of stone ground flours, meals, and mixes he also developed an educational program for the mill greatly expanding upon the simple Park Ranger who unlocked, and locked the door, turned on and off the lights and simply handed out out of date brochures. While employed at the mill Mr. Hazen constructed new machinery, and greatly increased the media and hands on activities for school groups.

Mr. Hazen also worked as a Park Ranger on the National Mall, at the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Jefferson Memorial. He also worked at the Old Stone House, and at the Rock Creek Park Nature Center. While in Washington, D.C., he took National Park Service Interpretation Classes and others dealing with various aspects of historical preservation and restoration.

Since he had been devoted to Pond Lily Mill Restorations he has constructed an internet web site for his company which offers free advice, interpretation and living history skills, technology, folklore, and basic milling history free of charge. He believes i going the extra mile to help others and  his customers.  "My (paid) Clients always come first."

Pond Lily Mill Restorations is dedicated in honor of the late Charles Howell who trained Mr. Hazen in dealing with his customers, and how a proper business should be operated. For years Mr. Hazen had almost daily phone contact with Charlie Howell to hone his knowledge of milling technology.  How mills work; jobs of the millwright, miller, etc; how the technology changed (water mills to steam mills, stone grinding to roller mills, etc); siting water mills; different types of mills (bark mills, fulling mills, sawmills, etc or overshot, undershot, breast or waterwheel vs turbine).

Ted Hazen supplies extensive, illustrated information on the history and technology of flour milling in America, and the restoration of water mills, with bibliography though his website beginning in April of 1996. His site is a storehouse of information on mills and their technology.  Pond Lily Mill Restoration website gets national and international praise for being the premiere historic mill information site throughout the world.   Almost very thing you ever wanted to know about old water mills, by the man who restores them.

Ted Hazen worked in his dream park at Virginia's Explore Park located at milepost 115 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Roanoke, Virginia. When I worked at Virginia's Explore Park. During that time, I worked as their blacksmith, 19th century interpreter, and redesigned their blacksmith shed to make it more of an authentic blacksmith shop. During my time at the park, we moved a small grist mill from Franklin County, Virginia, and restored it to operation condition in the park. When I first found the Esom Slone's Mill the water wheel disappeared in the 1970's, and the sluice box had been gone since the 1960's. The white paint was long gone off the building and only the gray weather wood covered the building. This was the family later white painted mill from about 1880 to 1890 which incorporated parts from the families earlier red painted mill from about 1840 to 1950. The mill's internal machinery had parts missing. One half of the gear system to operate one of the millstones was gone, and the elevators, grain cleaner and flour sifter were also removed, but all of that had been restored to the mill.  The Park closed down at the end of the 2007 on November 18th., because of funding problems.

Pond Lily Mill Restorations Home Page contains over 400 web pages and over one thousand images. The majority of the web pages source material was Mr. Hazen's large stack of interpretive programs which he presented, and developed while being the Curator of Molinology at Peirce Mill. So the material contained with the web site maintain the extremely high standards set by the National Park Service to information presented to the public. There is over 72MB of useful and fun information presented in an easy to read format. Pond Lily Mill Restorations Home Page was developed for the educational interest and understanding of wind, water, and tidal powered mills. Pond Lily Mill Restorations promotes the research into the study of molinology and the restoration of mills. Mills are something which is part of the basic food stuff need of us all besides being of historical importance, and should be preserved.

Preserving of Our Heritage: Diller-Heishman's Mill - a.k.a. Greider Mill and Neuhauser & Wright Mill,
 circa 1800-1808, (privately owned), Conodoquient Creek, Cumberland County, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

 About Theodore R. Hazen.

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Copyright 2009 by T. R. Hazen.