Sawmill at Shelburne Falls
Historic
Modern
Shelburne Falls was the site of the earliest industry in Shelburne, due to the natural hydro power provided by the LaPlatte River's descent over a series of falls within a narrow bedrock channel. The first sawmill was built in 1785, followed by several dams and carding and grist mills. The covered bridge visible on the left of the undated historic photo sits in roughly the same spot as today's modern bridge, with the sawmill just south along the riverbank.

The most striking change between the 18th century and today is the historic deforestation. The old landscape is all but cleared of trees, while today many hillsides and fields have reforested. A careful study of both images will reveal several comparable landmarks; the farthest ridge is clearly visible, while the nearer ridgeline can still be seen behind new stands of trees. The road leading southeast behind the sawmill follows the same hollow seen in the modern photo, starting from the junction seen just beyond the bridge. To the north, several mills stood, including a grist mill with a large dam.