HMR recently completed a Preservation Plan Amendment for Ralston Cider Mill in Mendham, NJ.
The mill was constructed around 1850 as a grist mill. It became a cider mill soon after the miller, John. R. Nesbitt, died and gristmill operations at the site ceased. In 1904, the Tiger Distillery, known for its famous “applejack” was moved to the Ralston Mill, and operated there until it was officially closed during prohibition. As the only remaining cider mill in New Jersey, efforts to preserve the site have been championed by many, including the Township of Mendham which purchased the site in 2004, as well as local residents and the Mendham Historic Preservation Committee. The original Preservation Plan was completed by The Cultural Resource Consulting Group in 2005, followed by restoration by Rondout Woodworking.
Through drawings, photographs and a written narrative, HMR was hired to document restoration work at the mill completed between 1984 when the roof and roof framing were replaced, and 2007 when the other restoration work was completed. Also part of the preservation plan amendment is an archaeological survey of the site by Hunter Research. The goal of the survey is to locate additional buildings and structures on the site to support the interpretation of the site and provide a starting point for possible future reconstruction of these support buildings. Finally, HMR’s work included the design of new entry stairs based on the historic images below, which were not available at the time that the original preservation plan was completed in 2005.
The recently completed archaeological survey, shown in the photographs below, allows for a more complete understanding and interpretation of the mill complex.
Interested in learning more about the Ralston Cider Mill? This Saturday, they will hold their annual apple pressing event, where you can observe the process, and even sample some cider! A great event for adults and kids alike. Check out the Ralston Mill’s Tumblr page to find out more…