The Sawmill

One project that is in reconstruction at this time is the Ervin Werling Sawmill. The sawmill itself has been moved to the Village, from its home near Tocsin. Fred Lehman, one of the village officials spearheading the project, had noted that approximately $10,000 was still needed to transfer the sawmill to the village. “Mr. Werling has very generously offered to donate the sawmill and surrounding buildings to the village. However, the process of transferring the complex to the village is very intricate and detailed,” Lehman said. “It needs to be dismantled practically piece by piece, labeled, and carefully moved in such a way that it can be reassembled without damage in an authentic way,” he continued."

Lehman said that Dr. Richard Yoder had cut down an oak tree from his farm to be donated toward the project. In addition, George Steiner and a volunteer group of workers made shingles from the tree for the building. Lehman had said all along that it was the goal of village officials to have the sawmill in operation for Swiss Days and the Heritage Festival of 2009.

According to Werling, the sawmill was last used 10 years ago. “We’re not using it anymore and it’s just sitting there,” Werling had said in a previous interview with the Swiss Heritage Society Messenger. “I figure that it might as well get some use somewhere. I would be happy to see it being used in the Swiss Heritage Village.”

“The stories of how the pioneers cleared the forest and converted them to farm land are so interesting,” said Lehman. “You look at a lot of those old farm houses and barns, and our farmland, and you realize what a vital role the sawmills played in all of this. It only makes sense that a sawmill should be a vital part of our heritage village here,” added Lehman. “It’s amazing watching this all come together.”