Sawkill Archive collects historical research on local buildings where lumber is salvaged. All old buildings have a story to tell – and when a building is demolished, the everyday history is often lost – but the salvaged lumber is a surviving link to a specific historical site, and a valuable backdrop to the imagination.
“I came to see the buildings as fossils of time past…used during the Civil War. The men were all dead, but the buildings were still here, left behind as the city grew around them…the passing of buildings was for me a great event…and no place like it would ever be built again.”
The Making of Dutch Colonial Manhattan
Just a little south of modern East 74th street, where Manhattan Island touches the East River, a creek named the Saw-kill once flowed. It is hard to imagine Manhattan Island without skyscrapers, traffic, and nearly two million people living upon it. It is equally as difficult to believe that this great metropolis was previously covered in forests, with vast streams crisscrossing the hilly granite terrain. Prior to the establishment of a permanent Dutch settlement on the homeland of the Lenni-Lenape, Manhattan was such a place. And just a little south of modern East 74th street, where Manhattan Island touches the East River, a creek named the Saw-kill once flowed.