Sunday, January 30, 2011


A large number of new pages have been recently added to the Helderberg Hilltowns web pages on the sites of historic and scenic interest in the Town of Berne.
The most historic site in the town of Berne is on the north side of Fox Creek below the bridge in the center of the hamlet of Berne. This is where the mills and factories were located that caused the hamlet to be located where it is. And yet the town turns its back on the mill site. It is as if it never existed. This would be a great area for an historic park, perhaps created as an expansion of the existing Fox Creek Park on the south side of the creek.
Fox Creek Park is located along the old road to Knox on the above map made in 1975 by Robert Lambert for an article in Our Heritage
  • Fox Creek Park is below the Berne Falls in the Berne hamlet. It is reached by a short access road on the west side of Helderberg Trail just south of the bridge across Fox Creek in the hamlet of Berne. In 1977 one could still see on the Fox Creek Park side of the creek evidence of fastenings for a log dam. Perhaps they are still visible.
  • Weidman's Mills - About 1752 Jacob Weidman built a log dam at the top of the Berne falls on Fox Creek to create a mill pond to power the first sawmill. By 1781 his son Peter had built a grist mill below the sawmill.
  • Simmons Axe Factory was started about 1825. This mill had its own dam, a log structure with stone wing walls.
  • Berne Grist Mill - The Berne Grist Mill was the successor to Weidman's grist mill built by Jacob Weidman after 1750. Weidman's mill had burned shortly prior to 1832, the year in which it was rebuilt by Malachi Whipple. Whipple also built, along with Ball and Dwight, aa carding and fulling mill adjacent to the Weidman property in the 1830's. The use of these lands and their water power source was more or less esablished by the pond above the bridge.
Waterfall on Fox Creek
Nov. 2009, Charles Sloger


  • The park should be expanded to include land on the opposite Fox Creek Park where the historic mills and factories stood: Weidman's Mills, Berne Carding and Fulling Mills,Simmons Axe Factory, and others. Their historic sites should be marked. There should be a trail along the north side of the creek connection the mill sites.
  • A King Post Truss Bridge for pedestrians might connect the two parks. Both sides could be still called Fox Creek Park; it would just be doubled in size to include the historic mill sites on the north bank of the creek.
  • Perhaps the land on the south side of the Foxenkill between Fox Creek Park and Berne Town Park could be bought to expand the park. The land has not much value to its present absentee owner because of it's inaccessibility from the main Yarmchuk farm which is on the opposite bank. On the other hand, it is very accessible from the hamlet side, especially the school, and would be a valuable addition to Fox Creek Park. If the land can not be bought cheaply, perhaps a right-of-way for a trail could be purchased of would be given to the town. The trail would extend from Fox Creek Park to the Berne Town Park with access to the school.

Photo Gallery

Other Historic Sites in Berne - Using as a basis An Inventory of Historic and Scenic Resourses In the Town of Berne compiled by Thomas Conklin for the Berne Conservation Advisory Council, 1979