During a landscape project last week, we were surprised to discover an ancient boiler buried in the ground. The boiler is typical of the type used in small factories of that era, such as the birch oil mill adjacent to where it was found.
The mill was recently repaired in a joint effort by the Essex Historical Society and the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, and re-dedicated as the "Yellow Label Mill". The railroad stabilized the building, put on a new roof, and painted / replaced windows; the historical society refurbished signs and created panels that will tell the story of the factory.
The Yellow Label Mill was known as the Birch Mill. It was built in 1915 and used until 1927 to distill and bottle oil from Black Birch twigs. It was reopened briefly during World War II when synthetic birch oil became unavailable.
The great thing about the Birch Mill was that the owners stopped using it, but left it fairly intact. “It was like they locked the building and walked away. It’s virtually a time capsule of industrial history from 100 years ago.” says Essex Historical Society Director Melissa A. Josefiak.
Source: Middletown Press - Dickinson Witch Hazel story comes to life this weekend in Essex (5/12/16)
We believe this to be the only remaining mill of its type in existence.