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Picturing history: Sawmill in historic Kirtland, Ohio

President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated in May 2003 an entire campus of restored or reconstructed historic buildings in Kirtland, Ohio, that were significant in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

One of the reconstructed structures was a sawmill, adjacent to a rebuilt ashery, a hundred yards or so from the Newel K. Whitney Store.

Some of the original foundation stones were used in the reconstruction of the sawmill. Historian and curator Mark Staker noted in “Historic Kirtland Restoration Completed,” published in Mormon Historical Studies in spring 2004, that the sawmill and ashery were particularly popular attractions to local school groups and traditional visitors who go to Kirtland.

This view shows how the blade of the sawmill would cut through a tree.| Kenneth Mays

“The sawmill provides an important site to discuss the construction of the Kirtland Temple and the role of skilled craftsmen in the erection of that building," Staker wrote. "Water turns the wheel, and visitors can see how the mechanical elements worked together to cut lumber for the temple.

“ ... The sawmill helped build up the city of Kirtland as well and is an important part of much of what the Saints were able to accomplish."

Presently, the rebuilt sawmill can operate and cut lumber. It rarely does so, however, mostly because of safety concerns for onlookers.