Skip to content

The Pivert Sugar Mill

February 13, 2013

Having the week off from the nursing school due to Kanaval celebrations, I decided to play the tourist a bit.  I had thought of making the trip to Cap Haitien to visit the Citadel, but was advised that the city would be packed with celebrants, hotels would be fully booked and that as in Canada on holiday weekends, prices for everything would be jacked up.

So this morning I set out to Saint-Marc to try to find the Pivert sugar mill.   I found a moto taxi chauffeur who knew the location and I was surprised to find that it was very near the nursing school.  In fact I had at times walked past the street it is on, but it is not visible from Rue Pivert.

About a hundred meters down the street across the bridge over Le Grand Rivière Saint-Marc the roofs of the mill buildings rose above the middle of a large banana garden.  I saw no one around, but the gate was unlocked, so I took the chance of going in and made my way among the bananas toward my goal.  Arriving at the mill I encountered a young man who was pleased to allow me to look around.

My research on the Internet had led me to believe this mill was in much better condition than the Guillon mill, and was in fact by some accounts still operational.  As soon as I arrived it was evident that this has not been the case for some time.

The Pivert mill was contained in two buildings, the waterwheel and machinery in one and the cauldrons for boiling down the sugarcane sap in another.  The former is fairly intact with the exception of the roof, which is quite deteriorated over the waterwheel room and completely gone from the second room.  All of the machinery has been removed with the exception of the steel waterwheel, smaller than the one at the Guillon mill.  The aqueduct and headrace are still in place.  There is a long room adjacent to the machinery building, one wall of which is formed by the aqueduct.  Access to this room is through a large archway under the aqueduct.   At the far end of the room is a large rectangular pit, its purpose a mystery to me.

One of the walls of the building in which the sugar was processed has collapsed and the roof is completely gone.  Much of the chimney still remains, but the topmost part has fallen.  Much of the floor has also crumbled and all that remains of the cauldrons is the iron rings over the hearth where they were heated.  However enough remains to get a fairly clear picture of what once was.

This mill was smaller than the Guillon mill and would have had less capacity.  The Guillon mill used steam to boil the cane sap, while the Pivert mill appears to have used fire under the cauldrons.

Entry into machinery building from banana garden.

Entry into machinery building from banana garden.

Machinery building

Machinery building

Deteriorating roof of machinery building.

Deteriorating roof of machinery building.

View of waterwheel through door of machinery building.

View of waterwheel through door of machinery building.

Waterwheel room showing headrace above wheel.

Waterwheel room showing headrace above wheel.

Waterwheel

Waterwheel

Aqueduct

Aqueduct

Long room.  Aqueduct forms left wall.

Long room. Aqueduct forms left wall.

Pit at end of long room.

Pit at end of long room.

Processing building with chimney.

Processing building with chimney.

Proximity of buildings.

Proximity of buildings.

Cauldron rings

Cauldron rings

Collapsed wall of processing building.

Collapsed wall of processing building.

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: