Posted Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

You can discover the art and science of early industrial crafting on Saturday at the historic Cooper Gristmill in Chester Township during the annual “Industrial Crafts Day’’ event sponsored by the Morris County Park Commission.

Park Commission's

Demonstrations of blacksmithing, tinsmithing by George Pierson, and tin piercing by Frank and Anita Mai are just some of the events that will take place this Saturday, Aug. 22 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 Try your hand at weaving and spinning, or create a tin-pierced craft to take home from crafters, who also will have items available for purchase.

Admission to the event is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors (65+), and $1 for children (ages 4 – 16). Children under age 4 are admitted free. For more information, please call 908.879.5463, or visit

The address is 74 County Rd 513, Chester, NJ 07930.

The stretch of the Black River on which the Cooper Gristmill is situated is well-suited for the operation of water-powered mills. In the 1760’s, Isaiah Younglove began a flour milling operation on the site that lasted until 1788. Over the years, the mill went through several owners and was damaged by fire.

Park Commission's

The present mill was built in 1826 by Nathan Cooper, with its water wheel, power shafts, and 2,000-pound millstone.

Current day visitors to the historic site can watch the gristmill in action, with a master miller — in period costume – explaining the history of the mill and the vibrant community once called Milltown, which thrived in the late 19th Century.

 In addition to regular tours of the mill, there also are seasonal events and exhibits such as blacksmithing, stone dressing, machine demonstrations and the rare opportunity of seeing both mill stones being run at the same time. Industrial Crafts Day is just one of the many events.

The gristmill is open to the public from May through October when guided tours of the mill, as well as a variety of educational programs and demonstrations are offered.

The non-profit Friends of Fosterfields and Cooper Gristmill supports and promotes the development of Cooper Gristmill. Extensive information about their activities is available through their Facebook site.