The Ruins of the Dwinell Lime Kiln


The Spring with the Lime Kiln in the background
The Slaking Pit. This would have had a roof over it back then.


The Foundation of the Lime House
Another view of the lime-house foundation. There was a stairway into the basement where the tree is, and another on the other side behind the brush. The ruins of a chimney are in the foreground.
The Silted Up Millpond
The remaining end of the Western Diversion Dam which diverted the stream into a leat running about 950 feet to the millpond.
The Leat with Lucy on the bank for scale
The upper and lower dams. The left end of the upper 4 foot high dam still exists, the rest is washed out. The lower dam, right center behind small trees, is ten feet high from the bottom of the wheelpit/tailrace.
The spillway to the right, tailrace in center, and mill foundation at far left, looking down from the dam. The dimensions of the dam would indicate that a standard 18 foot breast wheel was used, with the water feeding into about the center of the wheel.
A drawing of a Breast-Wheel from the Young Mill-wrights and Millers Guide.
The Mill foundation shows no signs of a chimney such as is present at Steve Butz’s excavation of a similar mill at the Shays Settlement Project, supporting my claim that this mill was not used to forge metal, but to break up rock into 2 to 8 inch pieces for the kiln and to pound the resulting lime into a uniform consistency.
Approximate layout of lots 12 – 14 of the 1765 Lt. James Bain Patent. The light green line running through Fenton and Luddington is the present day eastern boundary of the Mt. Tom State Forest. The oddly shaped Lot #14 is the site of the limekiln and mill. I believe Lt. James Bain and Lt. Ann Gordon sold out to Lt. Duncan MacVicar, who put the three lots together to form his 6000 acre “Clarendon Township”. When Duncan returned to Scotland in 1772 he turned Clarendon over to John Munro, whose surveyed mortgages on some of these lots I used to lay them out. John McCool, not Ebenzer Dwinell, seems to have owned Lot #14 in 1774, so the lime operation may have been built by McCool or Munro rather than Ebenezer Dwinell.



A more recently done map, made by georeferencing Munro’s surveys onto a topographical map with QGIS. Othniel Preston’s lot was moved to a more likely location. The dotted green line is the State Forest boundary.

An older view of these patents.

Links to a somewhat similar lime kiln in operation. These aren’t mine but were all I could find showing an actual kiln in operation. The Dwinell kiln was smaller than this and used wood rather than coal:

Finding a kiln
Firing the kiln
The finished product

Below is a better video which follows almost exactly how the Dwinell Limekiln would have operated, right up to the total lack of safety equipment. After watching them break rock with sledges and hammers, it is also very evident why they wanted a hammer mill at the Dwinell site to break up rock and pound out lime. There is one appearance of a gasoline engine, and they slaked the lime differently, adding it to a pool of water, whereas at the Dwinell Kiln they probably would have put the lime in the pit and then added just enough water to slake it, producing a firmer but lumpier mixture than the slurry they were making in Sri Lanka.