Steve Webb, of R.S. Webb & Associates, said he was working on the report for both the Army Corps of Engineers and Georgia’s Historic Preservation Division to review. The entire process, he added, would take “a couple of months.”
“We’re finished with the field work right now as far as we’re concerned. Of course, we need to run that by the agencies who are in charge of overseeing the work — the corps of engineers and the state preservation office — but it’s our opinion that we’re finished with the field work and we are in the process of analyzing the artifacts now. This will go on for a little while longer,” he said.
The work at the Lowry Mill site was the next step in Euharlee’s efforts to renovate the mill and turn it into a museum with a public area on its grounds. Items pulled from the site included gears and shafts, Webb said, along with two 7,500 pound turbines buried approximately six feet under the ground. Those turbines, Webb continued, powered the mill after the water wheel was removed. Euharlee Planning and Zoning Administrator Ron Goss said the turbines were possibly installed sometime during the 1920s, citing an article in the Cartersville News from Dec. 2, 1920.
“Apparently the turbines came in around 1920, 1922,” Goss said. “Over time, and there’s no real understanding of when the mill ceased to be used, we know it started probably in the 1830s or ’40s ... but nobody really knows when it shut down. It’s believed sometime in the late 1950s, 1960s it sort of collapsed in on itself.”
Webb said it was possible the turbines had been installed earlier than the 1920s, based on the manufacturer information.
“We pulled out two turbines that were manufactured by a company called Stout, Mills and Temple, and they were out of Dayton, Ohio, and the last time they put that manufacturing stamp on a piece of equipment was actually 1890,” he said. “They became another company after 1890. So it brings up an interesting question as to whether Lowry may have bought a used turbine or some old new stock or something like that that had been sitting around, or whether or not the turbine was actually installed earlier than the ’20s that the newspaper article referred to it being redone in 1920 or 1922.”
The turbines are 36 inches in diameter, Webb said, and would have produced roughly 100 horsepower each in their application at the Lowry Mill. The turbines, among the other items, are being considered for inclusion in the final museum.
“Right now we’re trying to decide exactly what the city wants to possibly put on display in the future and that kind of thing, and what we’ll do is we’ll select some of these items to clean up and restore to some extent. ... The turbines won’t run again, but they will be cleaned up and the rust will be taken off of them and some conservation measures will be put [into place],” Webb said.
Once the archaeological phase of the project is finished, Goss said Euharlee could move forward with restoring the mill’s stone foundation and later rebuilding the mill.
“That project, realistically [could] be completed in the summer of 2015 ... but there is definitely a process in making sure everything’s documented according to the state Historic Preservation Division, as well as the [Environmental Protection Division] and the corps of engineers since that mill sits within their buffers,” he said.
Goss added Webb was planning on speaking at today’s Euharlee City Council meeting and answering any questions the council may have about the project.