The Legacy of J. T. John Mill

Coming Together to Preserve the Past

Hurricane Matthew did a number on the J. T. John Mill in 2016, and though its loving stewards tried to shore it up, Florence and Dorian took too high of a toll on its underlying structure. Through their partnership with Legacy Architectural Salvage, the mill’s history lives on.

Brother and sister duo Helen Livingston and Tom John own the J. T. John Mill, built in the 1840’s. The mill has been in their family for generations, and they protected and preserved it all their lives.
 
But Hurricane Dorian was not kind to the aging structure. After surveying the damage, Helen and Tom agreed: The mill couldn’t be saved—but the pieces of history that held it together for 150+ years certainly could. 

Got a big project? 

We’d love to help.

If you have a major salvage donation requiring deconstruction—think staircases or whole houses, pre-demolition—we may be able to send our volunteer deconstruction team to skillfully remove those materials.

Contact Deb Helms, Manager, Legacy Architectural Salvage:
salvage@historicwilmington.org
910.338.6443

As luck would have it, Helen and Tom called Preservation NC, a partner and friend of Historic Wilmington Foundation, who put them in touch with Legacy Architectural Salvage. After meeting with LAS Manager Deb Helms last December, the siblings decided to entrust her team with the legacy of their family’s mill.

 

 

Since the deconstruction took two full days, they even fed and housed our team of seven volunteers overnight in their family cabin, located in Laurinburg, NC. They also supplied a backhoe, which gave our crew the ability to salvage materials which could not have been handled manually. 

 

Our team brought back many treasures: barn doors, corrugated tin and the wooden wheel that encased the grist millstone. It’s remarkable to find wide planks of old-growth wood, and thanks to the generosity of Helen and Tom, we are now stocked with a solid haul, including many 1″x10″ and 2″x10″ beams! Now back at the LAS workshop, the salvaged wood can be used to make farm tables, benches and floating shelves.

When Legacy re-opens (scheduled for Wednesday, April 1), be sure to stop in—these gorgeous and rare pieces of history will get picked up quick! 

We were only able to haul back this treasure trove because of Johnston Services and Coastal Clean Sweep & Lawn Care, who each lent us a trailer. Many thanks to Helen and Tom, our volunteers and of course their dedicated leader, Deb Helms. The legacy of the J. T. John Mill will soon be in the good hands of our LAS customers, who share our mission of preserving and protecting the irreplaceable historic resources of our region. 

 

 

 

Many Hands (and Tools!) Make Light Work

Our team of dedicated workshop and deconstruction volunteers are amazing, but their full potential can only be realized with a (metaphorical and literal) full toolbox. Right now, Legacy needs your help to get the right equipment in the right hands!
 
If you have any gently used or new tools that you’d like to donate to Legacy Architectural Salvage, please stop by during business hours: Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 9:00am-2:00pm, and Thursday from 9:00am-5:00pm. And remember: Donations are tax-deductible!
 

Below is a list of our tool needs. For more information on tool donations, CLICK HERE.

  • metal ladders
  • sawhorse brackets
  • crowbars (36-inch and 42-inch)
  • wrecking bars (42-inch)
  • hammers
  • flat bars
  • nail pullers
  • die grind wheels
  • glue guns
  • new saw blades (12-, 10- and 7-inch)
  • drill bits (wood and steel) 
  • large clamps
  • flashlights 
  • battery-operated lights
  • chainsaw blades
  • dollies
  • screw guns
  • skill saw
  • orbital sander
  • panel cart
  • bottle jack
  • 5/16th-inch cable with hooks
  • 5/16th-inch, Grade 30 chain with I/grab hooks

Roman & Steve use the backhoe, provided by Helen & Tom, to load up the LAS trailer