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Kolbeck, Henry J. / History of the Thiensville Dam, Thiesville, Wisconsin
(2006)

The Thiensville Dam,   pp. 1-5


Page 2

The first thing he had to do is to get a land surveyor that can determine how many
feet of drop is available in the river at that point. Then he can determine the proper size
of the water wheels for the mill, which in turn allowed the sizing of the grinding wheels.
The next step was to find a source of proper stone that will be needed for the mill
building and also a source of suitable wood for the timbers, beams and boards needed for
the dam and the mill building. He, or someone knowledgeable in architecture and
construction of dams probably drew up a plan for the mill building and dam so they could
calculate the quantities of the various timber sections and stone needed for the project.
To collect enough stone, timber and other materials for the dam and the mill building was
in itself, an enormous project that took much planning, effort and money. It is
interesting to note that there probably was only one copy of the plan for the mill layout,
this being long before there were blueprint machines. In 1843, a small sawmill was
constructed on the mill race dike by Henry Hayssen, the son-in-law of John Henry Thien
and Peter Turck, a surveyor. This sawmill, an up and down framesaw powered by a
water wheel provided lumber needed for the mill building, as well as for other building
construction in the area.
It is also interesting to realize that John Henry Thien probably had only been in America
on a short time and, while probably learning the language as quickly as possible, had to
depend on others to talk with the people he had to deal with for building his mill and the
dam.
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