The Cumberland Farmers’ Club is raising $42,000 toward a new foundation and structure to house this 1931 donated sawmill. Contributed

CUMBERLAND — Nearly 90 years after Arthur Harmon started his lumber business in Standish, the gas-powered sawmill he used will soon find a new home – and second life – 14 miles eastward at the Cumberland Fairgrounds.

Harmon’s grandson, Ron Harmon, is donating the machine to the Cumberland Farmers’ Club, which owns the fairgrounds. But the organization, forced by the coronavirus pandemic to cancel this year’s Cumberland Fair and other revenue-generating events through October, lacks funding to house the mill.

Now, the club has launched a $42,000 fundraiser to pay for moving the sawmill to a new structure at the fairgrounds.

A saw-shaped sign in the mill bears the name of Clayton Harmon, who took over the 1931 operation from his father Arthur. Ron Harmon, Clayton’s son, is donating the machine to the Cumberland Farmers’ Club. Contributed

The mill is 8 feet wide by 44 feet long, and its surrounding structure will be 1,152 square feet, according to Lyle Merrifield, president of the farmers’ club. The Gorham resident said he had originally thought to purchase the mill for himself, but ultimately decided it would make a better addition to the fairgrounds.

Ron Harmon agreed.

“Future generations ought to be able to enjoy it,” said Harmon, whose father, Clayton Harmon, had taken over the business from Arthur and died in 2010. “It’s an old piece of equipment that somebody needs to enjoy in years to come.”

Arthur, a carpenter by trade, and Clayton would be “very proud to know that somebody’s going to take care of it and look after it for many generations,” Harmon said.

The campaign had raised nearly $3,600 as of Monday. Merrifield expects to relocate the mill sometime this month.

Merrifield plans for the fairgrounds to host demonstrations of the sawmill during fair week, and perhaps other times throughout the summer as the museum area of the property grows.

The sawmill reflects Maine’s history, he said, and it “would not be an uncommon sight 50, 60, 75 years ago to see a small mill like that, three or four in every town. So it’s really nice to support that, and it’s going to make an awesome exhibit at the fairgrounds.”

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