Shaker Pines History
The name “Shaker” came from a religious sect founded among the lower class in England in 1758. The group’s controversial
beliefs in the second coming of Christ as a woman, their eschewing of greed, pride, sex, and their simple communal way of life
brought on religious persecution; and they fled to America in 1774. By 1782, they had established a community in Enfield and
within ten years had settled over a large tract of land, part of which is our Association area. The Shaker colony kept much to
itself, as their religious beliefs were a complete mystery to most of the natives, but their solid community accomplishments
They were industrious craftsmen and farmers, improving the land and planting white pine trees. For irrigation and to power the
lumber mill, they dammed up a ravine into which several brooks flowed in the spring months only to dry up in the summer
season. This established the present lake.
Always dedicated to employing the natural resources available to them, they used the sandstone and timber in the area to
construct the Mill for lumber for themselves and the surrounding farmers.
Their religious beliefs prohibited marriage, and by 1917 the colony had dwindled. The few remaining workers sold their
possessions and moved away to become members of a distant Shaker colony. Subsequently, the Association used the Mill
for the storage of firefighting equipment, including the fire truck, hose and trailer pump, and a local Civilian Defense
Headquarters during the Second World War.
Some old interesting articles were found.
The Old Mill: The Shakers and How Our Old Mill Came to Be
Shakers were members of the religious sect called the United Society of Believers. The sect was started in England about 1706, as an offshoot of the Quakers. In 1758, Ann Lee (1736-1784) joined the society, and in 1770 members recognized her as the leader of the Church of God on Earth. Shakers called her Mother Ann, and made her the leader of the society.
In 1774, Mother Ann led a group of Shakers to America and organized a society at Watervliet, N.Y. This was the first communistic organization in the United States. All property belonged to the community as a whole.
Members of the United Society of Believers are called Shakers because during their religious exercises their intense emotions cause them to quiver and shake. The Shakers were the object of ridicule and even mistrust by their neighbors. They kept to themselves as it was almost impossible for the Native people to understand them. The sect was kept alive solely by converts as the Shakers do not marry and bear children. However, their solid community accomplishments could not be ridiculed such as our Lake and our Old Mill.
In 1782 the Shakers came to Enfield, and by 1792 were all well organized covering a large tract of land, part of which belongs to our Association are. As the Shakers improved the land by farming and planting white pine trees, they one day discovered a deep ravine into which several small streams made their exit. The Shakers built a dam at the end of the ravine to control the small streams. And thus – Our Lake –
In 1875 the Shakers built the Old Mill. The land yielded sandstone for the foundation and timber for the structure. When the Mill was finished, it supplied lumber for more Shaker dwellings. Some of the neighboring farmers overcame their prejudices and bought lumber from the Old Mill. Thus an industry was born.
Since the dissolvement of the Shaker Community in Enfield in 1917, the Old Mill has been used as storage for fire fighting equipment, including the fire truck, hose, and trailer pump, as headquarters for civil defense during World War 2, for dances, dinners, weddings, etc.
In general the Shakers made many fine contributions to the American way of life. They were noted for their fine farms, and for their industry and ingenuity. The Shakers were the first producers of commercial seed in the United States. They Invented the circular saw, cut nails, a washing machine, flat brooms, and the first metal pen point. The fine furniture early Shaker communities produced is now prized as collectors items by those who love antiques.