In 1972-73, Jeff and Candy Gammelin moved to Maine after college. The recent graduates built a home and wanted to figure out how to live life. “We wanted to be physically active while also being creative,” said Jeff Gammelin. “We built our own house, we used the materials that were on the land and we taught ourselves how to work with stone. It was a trial-and-error process.” In 1976 Jeff and Candy built their first fireplace in their own home, after catching the attention of another person, they were asked to build another for a customer.
One year after building their own fireplace, Jeff and Candy commissioned their first fireplace using for the first time the Freshwater Stone name. In 1988, Freshwater Stone moved its offices from Jeff and Candy’s home in Ellsworth to its current location in Orland, ME. “We hired and trained the first crop of stone masons,” said Jeff Gammelin, founder of the company. “Most of the work was manual, lots of lifting. About 30 years ago, we had an idea of building the fireplaces in our shop first, then break it down to put it back together in the customer’s home.” According to Andy Odeen, the general manager of Freshwater, there isn’t anyone else in the area that does what they do in regards to construction. “We mock everything up here,” said Odeen. “We go to the job site to template and then we build it back here in the shop. At the shop we have bridge saws, wire saws and overhead cranes and that allow us the capability to build large-format stonework. We then can take the finished project to the job site and build it permanently. This allows us to work through any issues there may be, here in the shop. It also reduces the amount of waste, water and noise that would be on site. We are making it a better experience for everyone that is involved and it’s a quicker build process.”