The texts and photos mentioned below are - with some adjustments - borrowed from the book: "Woltersum", an issue of the studygroop " Book of Woltersum" (1982).
The FRAM is the only still operational sawmill in the Province of Groningen. In 1900 there were about thirty sawmill in operation. In 1880 the province of Groningen counted 2000 mills. Nowadays there are still more than 80, among which the FRAM has a unique place.
This is because it has three functions.
· wood sawing with three saw frames;
· grinding corn with one pair of millstones;
· peeling with two peeling stones.
The mill FRAM is named after the ship of the Norwegian discoverer Nansen, FRAM means "forward". It has an octagonal (bovenkruier?) with scaffold on shed, and has a wingspan of 19.40 meters. W. Evenhuis had the mill built in 1867; the millers were J. Ritsema en J. Dreise. W. Evenhuis was a good businessman and before long he had a thriving business.
The small canal, the Woltersumer Ae, was full of logs, tied together as rafts as far as the Damsterdiep. The rafts were towed to the village by a small tugboat and from there they were taken tot the mill by a vaarboom?
After having worked by wind force only, Evenhuis had a steam engine built next to the mill, which was used in calm periods. An electric motor was placed in 1922. After that one of the wooden saw frames was replaced by a quick saw frame A wooden sledge, on which the tree was taken through the saw frame, was replaced by rails with iron carts, on which the tree was stuck by tongs. But if they had to saw precisely, the sawyers preferably used the original wooden sledge.
From 1931 they didn't use wind energy anymore, the mill deteriorated and in 1946 the vanes vanished. The company stopped in 1955. Four years later the council of Ten Boer bought the mill and saved it from demolition contractors. In 1961 the mill was restored for ƒ 20.000,--. The FRAM got vanes again and an iron shaft (formally it was made of wood) and especially the outside was fit to be seen again. On 15th November of the same year the mill was opened by the chairman of the timber merchants of the Province of Groningen, Mr. Nanninga.
On 5th December 1961 there was a gale, wind force 11. The mill turned in the wrong direction and the mill ran away. The mill was stopped by a few men who weren't scared indeed. It was again an act by which the mill was saved for future generations, otherwise it would have been burnt down for sure. In January 1961 Mr. J. Driesse who lived next to the mill and who was one of the men, who saved the mill, became the miller.
In 1975 a very thorough restoration of the FRAM was started:
· new vanes;
· totally new coating outside;
· sawmill again in old style, etc.
This was all done, just like the first time, by the mill builders Doornbos from Adorp.
Four years later the restoration was finished. The total costs were approximately ƒ 500.000,--. In 1979 Mr. T.A.M. Krabbendam became a co-miller. In May 1980 the mill reopened officially.
THE OBJECTIVES OF THE MILLERS
The managing millers - Joop Dreise, Sietse Pot, Auke Oosterhoff, Tom Krabbendam en Peter Heidema have the objective to open the mill as much as possible for visits and to saw the mill on Saturdays. As far as it is possible for them the maintain and repair the mill themselves. But it is especially their objective to use the mill sawmill actively.
THE SAWMILL, FLOURMILL AND PEEL MILL THE FRAM.
In 1867 W. Evenhuis had this mill built, after having worked with wind force only for 33 years, Evenhuis had a steam machine built next to the mill in 1900.
On the right the house where the staff of the sawmill FRAM lived.
The end of the "Lustige Maar" served as storage for the timber.
On the left the house of Mr. T.J. Wieringa, now of Mr. E. de Boer, K. de Boerweg 35. G. Velthuis lived in the second house nr. 34. Next to it, nr. 33, R. Dijkens, grocery shop. He was a merchant as well.
Activity in Woltersum, the Kollerijweg, around 1925.
In the foreground the first bridge. On the right the bridge man's house before the renovation (the house doesn't have an upper flour yet). The pipe of the boiler house (steam machine) fell down on a calm bright day in 1940.
The sawmill FRAM in a depressing state. Geertje Laning and Anneke Graatsma are waving from the open millcap. Picture from 1958.
With a crane of the Nijdam company from Groningen the heavy millcap was removed from the mill. Picture 1976
May 18 1979 the mill was provided with new sail-arms, the renovation almost completed.
Nowadays, the mill is frequently in use and open to the public.