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PRODUCT: Pride of the Valley: Sifting through the History of the Mount Healthy Mill
ISBN 1-935778-38-2; 978-1-935778-38-7
by Tracy Lawson and Steve Hagaman
In the early 1820s, Jediah Hill built a sawmill on property in the emerging frontier village of Mount Pleasant in southwestern Ohio. For the next 130 years, this Mount Healthy Mill was an important fixture within the community and adjoining region until it was acquired and shut down by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1952. Years later, in 1981, it was destroyed by fire. Much of the mill’s history, however, had been overlooked, lost, or forgotten about with the passage of time. Recognizing this situation and wanting more information than was available, Jediah Hill’s great-great-great-great-granddaughter, Tracy Lawson, undertook a search for more of the mill’s history and that of the families that had owned, operated, and modernized it.
The available family lore and readily available printed records held only part of the story. As Tracy delved deeper in search of answers, surprising and tantalizing information began to appear — and to inspire. As the research progressed, Tracy and historic millwright Steve Hagaman met and joined forces. Together, they pieced together a robust physical and social history of the mill, infused with unexpected twists and remaining uncertainties. Valuable context for the authors’ narrative is provided by two appendixes which include detailed site plans, floor plans, elevations and cross sections of the site and buildings from the Mount Healthy Mill Recording Project and 20 photographs from the Historic American Engineering Record of the Mount Healthy Mill. Pride of the Valley is further enhanced by Tracy’s notes, which provide a humanizing touch to the work and encourage others to take on similar research projects relating to their own family heritage.
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