SHIRLEY -- The theme of the next program and display at the Shirley Historical Society is Shirley's Sawmills Over the Centuries. Learn when and where they were built, how they worked, and what they produced. The opening program and reception will be held on Sunday, Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. at the Museum at 182 Center Road.

From the earliest water-powered sawmills on the Catacunemaug to the steam- and diesel-powered mills near the Mulpus; from the Hazen, Longley, Davis and Ballou families in Shirley Village to the Kilburn, Page, White, Phelps and Farnsworth families in North Shirley, men have been harvesting and sawing lumber in Shirley from the 1700s up to the present day.

Maps will explain the locations of eight different places in Shirley where there were sawmills at one time, along with photos of some of the remains of these mills and dams. Antique photos and paintings of some of these mills will be on display. Thanks to the Jurga and Farnsworth families, there will also be a slide show of current photos which were taken inside two of the mills.

An explanation of how a water wheel worked versus a water-powered turbine will be shared. Also on display at the museum will be a collection of antique wooden planes and pieces of wood cut from 30 different kinds of trees that grow in Shirley.

Admission to this program is free, but donations are always welcome.


For information telephone 978-425-9328 or email

For those who can not attend the opening, the display will remain up through the end of April.