From the website, visithistorickirtland.com reads
Welcome to the Historic Kirtland Visitors Center
Housed in this 1,000 square foot, two story replica of an 1899 grist mill are:
Exhibit rooms with historical photographs of Kirtland, a collection of Liz Lemon Swindle's paintings of Joseph Smith and family. Also, the fine 7' x 9' painting of the Kirtland Temple in the process of construction by Walter Rane.
In the 120 seat theater a film introduces visitors to the Kirtland period of Church history.
Panoramic views of Historic Kirtland can be seen from one of the rooms.
Tours of the reconstructed or restored buildings begin here.
The painstaking reconstruction and restoration process has required the help of volunteers and the skills of historians, archeologists, dendrochronologists, craftsmen and artisans with a knowledge of the period.
The settlement's buildings are as they appeared in the 1830s when the Latter-day Saints settled here.
Dallin and Billy in front of the creek where many early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints were baptized. This was such an incredible trip for our family because many of our ancestors were among the early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints both on my (Stephanie's) side as well as Michael's side.
Dallin, Jennifer K. Beverly K, and Scott K. on the path from the LDS visitors center to the other buildings of Kirtland Village.alnd Billy in front of the sawmill in Kirtland, Ohio
From the visithistorickirtland.com regarding the saw mill reads:
Massive drivetrain and saw run entirely by water power.
Original saw could cut logs up to 16 feet in length.
Period-authentic tools, furnishings and implements abound in Kirtland structures.
Building Block of the Community
“We found the sawmill by accident,” says anthropologist Mark Staker. “We were looking for the ashery. We knew approximately where it was and could see the indentation of a building on the ground surface.” So Staker and a colleague dug some test trenches, found a building foundation and excavated the site. “It took us almost two weeks to figure out it wasn’t the ashery,” he says. “It was the sawmill next door.”
Soon the foundations from both sites were revealed and excavated, and restoration work was begun. Kirtland buildings that had survived in some form to the present day, like the Newel K. Whitney Store, were carefully studied and analyzed by experts down to the chemical composition of the paint on the walls in order to learn as much as possible about the original structure. But with buildings that no longer existed, the ashery and sawmill for instance, careful archeology and analysis of early photographs of similar buildings helped provide significant details about the original structures. Where no record existed for a particular aspect of the building, information was filled in from what was known about a similar building from the time period.
One of the craftsmen contacted along the way was Stephen Pratt. Descended from a line of carpenter-blacksmith-artisans, Stephen and son Ben made from scratch and to historical specifications many of the tools and machinery utilized throughout the Kirtland restoration structures — some of it wood, some of it metal, all of it authentic.
The central feature of the sawmill is, of course, the saw, “fully automated” for its role in the historic re-creation, automated by water, that is.
“We’re making everything needed,” says Stephen Pratt, “to pump water into the mill and the water wheel, and the wheel then turns a massive drive train that powers the saw.” A 25-foot rolling carriage moves logs up to 16 feet long.
Pratt and son Ben have crafted working and authentic tools, machinery and historically accurate knickknacks for buildings throughout Kirtland. “To make a room look correct, these small tools and such are essential. When a person simply glances over a room, you don’t notice that there’s a fireplace poker, or a glue pot or a charcoal oven, but if you remove these items suddenly you’re thinking what’s wrong here? What’s missing?”
Anthropologist Staker says: “The significance of these sites in national terms is not in their uniqueness but rather in their representativeness. Asheries and sawmills were major industries in America, part of our common past. This mill represents not just one industry in one obscure town, but a signific
From the website,