The Parsons Mill in the center of Bloomingdale started as a gristmill at the end of the 19th century and was later converted to wood-working, including manufacture of the "Lake Placid Ski" in 1924.
Originally known as the Gillespie Mill, it was purchased by Jeremiah Parsons in 1908, who operated it with Mark Clark until 1916, when Parson's sons Paul and Perry Parsons became partners in the enterprise. It closed in 1944, but was re-opened by G. Carver Rice in the 1950s. It burned in 1963.
Adirondack News, September 5, 1891
Gillespie's new band saw mill is nearly ready to start up. It is a fine mill and should be kept busy.
Plattsburgh Sentinel, January 5, 1894
—W. J. Gillespie has started his steam mill again.
Adirondack Record-Elizabethtown Post, September 23, 1921
People were roused from their beds last Tuesday morning at an early hour by the fire alarm and found that the old Gillespie grist mill was on fire. The mill had just been sold by Mrs. Gillespie to Albert Melvin of Vermontville, who intended using the lumber to rebuild his barns, which were burned last summer. It is believed that in both cases the fires were set by an enemy of Mr. Melvin. It is hoped that the man will be caught and will receive the punishment due for such a dastardly crime.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, December 22, 1954
New Area Industry Is Started, Hope For Extensive Expansion
Two Saranac Lake businessmen have started a new industry which they hope will contribute to the welfare of this area. The Carver Corp., owned by G. Carver Rice, of Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, and Harold McCasland, of this village, have purchased the J.L. Parsons and Company mill in Bloomingdale and anticipate a growing business for manufacture of articles made of wood.
The new business will be known as the Bloomingdale Mill.
The three-story structure was built in 1879 by E.K. Burdick and William Gillespie. It was used as a grist mill until 1924 when Mr. Parsons began manufacturing the well known Lake Placid ski and other wooden products. The mill has been closed since 1944.
Although Mr. Rice and Mr. McCasland purchased the building two years ago this April, it was only this last Summer that the new owners started repairs, putting in new windows, setting up shops and installing equipment.
Three men are presently employed but it is hoped that by early Spring there will be work for from 25 to 30 employees.
There is a possibility that the owners will make television cabinets or foam rubber displays. They are considering making coffee tables and various other wooden products. At present, men are upholstering and refinishing furniture for an area hotel.
The new owners hope that the business will grow and furnish year round employment for men at a fair wage scale. In time there may be need for women in the decorating and stenciling departments.
Rice said today that he hopes to use Adirondack wood as much as possible. "This is to our advantage," he said, "since we won't have to ship it in."
He stressed that the industry is just getting started; that many problems remain to be worked out, but that he hoped he and Mr. McCasland can develop "a substantial industry."
Mr. Rice, who's father was veterinarian for Ringling Brothers Circus, was born in Welcome, Minnesota, and grew up in Greenwich, N.Y., attending schools there and in Albany and New York City.
For several years he represented a number of wholesale furniture manufacturers as a salesman in New England. Nine years ago he opened his retail stores In Saranac Lake and Lake Placid.
His wife is the former Stella Pollock, of Schenectady, and they live on Victor Herbert rd. in Lake Placid.
Mr. McCasland was born in Clintonville, but has resided for many years in Saranac Lake where he is very active in Fish and Game Club activities. His wife is the former Enola Brickey, of Tupper Lake. The couple have six children, Harold, 17, Constance, 15, Robert, 11, Judy, 8, Audrey, 5, and Johnny, 2.
Mr. McCasland in recent years operated a rug business but prior to that was in construction work. During the war he worked at Sampson Air Force Base and Norfolk, Va.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, April 22, 1963
Frame Structure After Extensive Damage
Fire raged through the four story Parson's Mill building in Bloomingdale Saturday morning as volunteers from two communities battled the wind-fanned fire for three hours.
The old frame structure was saved due to a plentiful supply of water from a nearby stream. It will probably have to be torn down, however, because the fire gutted inside is considerably weakened.
The fire started from an unknown source and the Saranac Lake department joined the Bloomingdale volunteers on a mutual aid agreement to help quell the blaze which also threatened the Cohen Hardware building across the street.
The Parson building was owned by G. Carver Rice and would have been in use in the near future. It was a Bloomingdale landmark which housed a grist mill at the turn of the century and was later converted to wood-working trades with power supplied from the stream which was routed under the structure.
In the early days the building was a community center with the top floor being utilized for dances and basketball games. The mill facilities were used for making skis during the war under government contract.
It was feared during the fire that it would get out of control and burn several nearby homes. The firemen were hampered by, the winds and inaccessibility of the flames which had gotten between the floors.
This morning the Bloomingdale Fire Department publicly expressed appreciation to the Saranac Lake Fire Department for their close cooperation and the immediate response to their summons for aid. Fire Chief Augie Simpson stated that "the equipment and members were invaluable in controlling and extinguishing the fire which threatened the community of Bloomingdale."
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, March 20, 1984
…Basketball was a very popular sport [in the early 1900s] and [Seaver Rice] was invited to play with the Bloomingdale team. Games were played on the third floor of the grist mill, later known as Parsons Mill across from Cohen's Store (now Jakobe's Winter Place). The hall was lighted with kerosene lamps and near each was a bucket of water in case the ball knocked the lamp to the floor…