The town of Leadmine claims an additional feature thanks to the work of one man. Mark Warner constructed the Leadmine Museum, which sits right next to the community park.
The museum resides at the site of and pays homage to the old Evans Mill. “The flood of 1909 put it out of business,” Warner said.
“This wheel is in commemoration of the original wheel,” Warner said as he pointed to the picture that hangs on the front of the museum of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone standing on the Evans’ waterwheel.
In 1918, the three inventors stopped in Leadmine on their way down to the Smokey Mountains by way of Uniontown, Pennsylvania. “They spent their first or second night here, and then made their way on to Elkins,” Warner said.
This August, a caravan of Model Ts will roll through the town as a centennial celebration of the inventors’ trip.
After Warner came up with the idea to build the structure as a museum, he built the structure in a field in front of his house. Then the community helped him move and assemble the pieces. Construction began two years ago, and the museum was assembled where it now stands in 2017.
For the structure, Warner used downed white pine trees that washed ashore after Hurricane Sandy hit Leadmine. “Rather than let them rot up, I made a structure out of it.”
Warner’s waterwheel is in the same location as the original once spun. The original mill ground wheat and corn into meal for bread. When water is pumped, the new waterwheel spins and churns just like the original.
Inside the museum is a collection of interesting artifacts and other Warner-built pieces. Millstones, their housings, and gears that were found in Leadmine are on display. A miniature steam engine and a replica of an 1830s hand pumped fire engine built by Warner are also on display in the museum.
The hardest part of getting the museum together was moving a 1,000 pound millstone donated by a local resident. “We slid it onto the bed my pickup, then we slid it off onto the bucket of a Bobcat,” Warner said.
Warner’s woodworking abilities run deep beyond the Leadmine Museum. His father, an architect and builder, taught his son many of the skills he now employs.
Warner owns his own business, Mountain Furniture, where he produces custom-made furniture, including tables, cabinets, and bars. He also replicated the structural design of the museum and sold them as second homes. “This museum is the same design,” Warner said. “I notched it with a chainsaw, and I grooved it with a chainsaw.”