Aug 01 2014

Ben’s Mill. A documentary on many levels.

Published by at 9:49 am under Documentary,Thoughts & Musings

Ben’s Mill is the story of a mill that had been used by generations, for generations- having evolved to meet the needs of a local marketplace and community.

Ben’s Mill is a story about a community that relied on a water powered wood processing mill, blacksmith and odd jobs shop to help them with things they needed to help them live their lives better, and easier.

Ben’s Mill is the story of a man, Ben Thresher, who’s skills evolved from when he apprenticed with the men who worked in the mill before him. He actively operated the mill from 1941 until his passing in 1995. The mill is a combination of water powered, belt-driven machines and the blended hand and machine tool skills of a man that just seem to effortlessly do simply and directly what needs to be done.

Ben’s Mill is a story of how semi-rural and rural America was. People who knew how to quietly work with their hands, who could share fellowship while doing, and had the skills and ability to help their community. When one could visit a craftsman with a need or idea, and after a short conversation while kneeling with a stick in the dirt to draw the widget, a makable plan would be born from the collaboration of a couple people. Before you knew it, a tool or item that solved a problem was made and folks got back to business.

Ben’s Mill is a story about the symbiotic nature of small town America and it’s sense of community. A time when our grandparents and their parents all shared the skills of self reliance that had been passed down to them and did (mostly on their own) what was in front of them. A time when people understood their collective knowledge of living and went forth living with a knowing trust, without questioning everything. A time when people helped people, when their price was reasonable and affordable.

Ben’s Mill is a story. Caught by film makers just after it’s heyday and in decline. A story about the end of an era. Too, mill owner Ben muses about the past and the passing of time during this film. A story of ways and ideals we may have likely eschewed, but perhaps could have better espoused. An era now treated like an archeological dig, where what generations once knew are now artifacts to be questioned before understanding. The people who possessed that knowledge to their very core have largely passed on, and we may have learned that in some ways, perhaps not enough attention to what they knew has been paid.

Ben’s Mill. Another story about self reliance and life in America.

Please enjoy 26 minutes of Ben’s Mill, it’s nice in full screen:

A 58 minute streaming version of this film is also available from

Ben’s Mill is Located in Barnet Vermont. The Mill began in 1872, evolving and expanding to help meet the needs of it’s local community. In 1999, it was purchased and turned over to a Non-Profit Trust that has performed massive efforts through the work of volunteers to understand and preserve Ben Thresher’s Mill. Work continues today to actively restore it.

If you like, you can read more, and even help support their efforts at

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