Fire Hits Tuck Grist Mill

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Restoration Aided

'Unusual Twist'

Hampton Union, Thursday, August 24, 1961

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union.]

Historic Deacon Tuck Grist Mill was damaged by fire late Sunday afternoon. Quick response by Hampton Firefighters averted a total loss.

Firemen were called out Sunday afternoon to extinguish a fire at the Deacon Tuck Grist Mill located at 490 High street. The mill was purchased by the town of Hampton two years ago in the interest of preserving the historical landmarks of this area.

The fire, of undetermined origin, caused considerable charring to the outside of the building and extensive damage to the interior. It took firemen more than an hour to control the blaze. Engines 2 and 3 and Tank 1 answered the 3:29 p.m call.

William Barkley, a consulting engineer and long time summer resident of Hampton along with being a member of the special committee appointed to look into the restoration of the building, told the UNION yesterday that he felt the fire actually helped rather than hindered the restoration plans. A portion of the mill which burned was slated for removal when the actual construction work got underway.

Mr. Barkley stated that he felt in spite of the fire which damaged the interior of the building that the external structure was still sound. He went on to note that the committee plans to meet within the next two weeks and it is hoped a report will be made to townspeople by Labor day.

The site has 89 feet of frontage on High Street and extends back to Mill Pond. The mill, located over the Nilus River, is believed to contain timbers of the mill built by John Tuck in 1688.

According to Dow's History of Hampton, the original was rebuilt by Moses Leavitt in 1817. Although none of the machinery remains at present, the building itself was in fair condition until the fire. Long range plans called for the original restoration of actual Mill operation for sight-seeing purposes such as has been accomplished at the Saugus Iron Works and Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts where the machinery actually grinds corn and other grains.

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