Walden Carding and Fulling Mill
1975 map by Robert Lambert, from Our Heritage
Vermonter Miner Walden (1770-1827) immigrated to Berne in the late 1700s where he built a carding and fulling mill shortly after 1797. (See Berne Carding and Fulling Mills for a discussion of carding and fulling in general.) The mill was also used to produce wooden shoe pegs, a short wooden nail used for fastening the uppers to the soles of boots and shoes. In 1825 the mill become part of Simmons Axe Factory and was used as a grinding and polishing shop for axes.
This mill had its own dam, a log structure with stone wing walls. In 1825 it may have had an outside overshot wheel, with the tailrace high enough to use the spent water for additional wheels downstream.
Many years later as a grist mill it used a horizontal tub mill or turbine for power with the tailrace exiting out the bottom of the structure. The grist mill was owned by Jacob Miner Hochstrasser (1826-1911). When the Berne Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1845 it met in Hochstrasser's grist mill until the Methodist meeting house was constructed in the hamlet next to the old Fire House.
At one time the mill was also used as furniture factory.
The mill was later operated as a grist mill by Jacob Miner Hochstrasser. In 1892 his granddaughter Lillian married Frank Hart (1871-1948). Frank and Lillian lived with her Hochstrasser grandparents and Frank worked in his grist mill. In 1920 Frank purchased the Berne Grist Mill and the older mill was closed and used for storage.
In 1972 the old mill was sold by the Hart family to Robert and Patricia Lambert. In 1977 the Lamberts sold the land to Edward Nevi who sold it back to the Lambet in 1979. Robert Lambert intended to renovate the mill and make it into a museum, but his plans fell through, and he sold the property, consisting of less than an acre, to James Close of Albany in February of 1980 for $2,500. It was Close's intention to renovate the building and turn it into a house that he would live in. Those plans fell through, and in 1991 the town condemned the dangerous building and it was torn down.
Our Heritage article by Robert Lambert and a Sept. 26, 1991 article in the Altamont Enterprise by Laura Ten Eyck which quoted town historian Euretha Stapleton, Robert Lambert and James Close.