Our 2019 special attraction is a visit Belle Isle's almost forgotten saw mill. The saw mill was constructed about 1900 and was in use until the 1980's. Trees that the city of Detroit removed from city streets, Belle Isle and other parks were sawn into boards at the mill. The wood was used for picnic tables, building repairs and to build bookcases and other simple furniture for city offices.
The saw mill is a trip back to a time when good hardwood was not wasted and the city of Detroit had money to invest in infrastructure. In 1900, it was not hard to find men who were experienced in the dangerous process of milling wood. Lumber and milling boards are an important part of the history of Michigan.
You will be able to walk into the mill and see the rusty, four foot circular saw blades. Directions written on the wall show how to put leather belts in place to power the mill first by steam and latter electricity.
Your guide will be Joe Aiken, who is spearheading the restoration. Joe is president of the Arboriculture Society of Michigan Foundation and has worked on other restorations. Joe will explain how the saw mill was used in the past and plans for its future.