Hawksworth Nelder Grove mill model gets new life

July 1, 2014 

John Hawksworth's labor of love has a new home at Fresno Flats Historic Village & Park on School Road (425B). The former forest ranger's meticulous model of California Mill No. 2 at Nelder Grove has been removed from storage and placed in a new display in the Sweet Museum.

Along with Jim Elliott, director of the Children's Museum of the Sierra, and a talented modeler, volunteers Charlie and Nancy Bednar constructed a display platform, complete with Plexiglas dividers, to showcase the model. Elliott painted a mountain backdrop to create an appropriate setting for the model.

John Hawksworth, a retired Forest Service employee, spent 20 years as volunteer caretakers at Nelder Grove. The grove is located north of Oakhurst near Sky Ranch, and was one of many pine forests harvested in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Hawksworth spent years measuring the mill site, then used drawings and photographs to build a model at the scale of one inch equals one foot.

His model, a three-year project, is thought to be the most accurate mill model in California.

Volunteers from Sierra Historic Sites Association cleared space in the Fresno flats museum by relocating the gift shop to a log cabin. The cabin was once on the site of Holiday Village, a small resort that stood where Rite Aid now stands (south-east corner of Highway 41 and Crane Valley Road (426)).

Fresno Flats Historical Village & Park is home to several one-of-a kind historic buildings.

Details: (559) 683-6570.

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