Pond Park Mill Site - Bolton, MA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member NorStar
N 42° 25.980 W 071° 36.478
19T E 285478 N 4701148
Quick Description: There is a sign at this location that explains that the sedimented pond and stone lined channels were once where water mills operated in the center of Bolton.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 8/5/2015 5:09:15 PM
Waymark Code: WMPBVD
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 1

Long Description:
In Bolton's center is a public park with a shallow pond and some stone lined channels and a sign explains that this was the location of several water mills.

The park is located on the south side of Mass. Route 117/Main Street, at the intersection with Mechanic Street, which is also an access road to an elementary school. Park along this road.

The park is mostly grassy with a round pond. Water enters the pond from under the bridge for Route 117. The water exists via the stone lined channels on the other side. It is difficult to determine which of the stone features are specific foundations. Near the intersection are two historical signs. One is for the park, and states the following:

"Pond Park

Over the past 150 years this small park has accommodated mill buildings, a blacksmith shop, a wagon paint shop, a floating boardwalk and noise from these commercial activities. The power of moving water was captured by confinement in mill ponds and converted to mechanical energy from a water wheel to rotating belts. Even a small stream such as this "Great Brook", was put to work in the early 19th century to power an :up and down" saw mill. Vertical saw mills required less water power than their mid-19th century replacement, the rotary saw, but were much slower and more prone to damage.

According to the 1831 map of Bolton the pond had not yet been dredged from the extensive wetlands in this region. The 1810 map of Bolton Center shows us that two ponds existed, the smaller primary and a larger, secondary reserve. Water cascading over the waterfall was caught by a pipe that transferred water to the adjacent reserve pond. This water was kept for use during low flow periods to maintain the appropriate head of pressure for the mill. Although not apparent now, there must have been a method of releasing water from the secondary to the primary.

In 1899 the Bolton Improvement Society was formed to improve both the minds of residents and the physical aspects of the Town. Along with free lectures on such diverse subjects as "Egypt", "To Young Men Starting A Business", "Immigration" and "Bacteria", the Society discussed bringing electric lights to Bolton, constructing a public water supply and requesting the Selectmen to close roads considered unsafe for automobiles.

In 1905 four generous residents, J. Wyman Jones, E.D. Emerson, Frederick Felton and Dr. J.W. Clap bought this pond property for the purpose of removing the derelict mill buildings. The Bolton Improvement Society raised money to rebuild stone walls, place a pump over the well with a stone-surrounded trough for horses to drink, built a bridge over the spill-way and landscape the grounds with Rugosa roses and forsythia. Dr. Clapp, the last surviving Trustee, donated the park to the Town."

Additional information comes from the reconnaissance report filed with the Massachusetts Historical Commission, stated that mills existed in the 18th and 19th centuries. Near the end is an inventory of historical sites, which has the following for this site:

"Pond Park + Main Street - Is an early 20th century park incorporating an old mill site, dam, and pond. Served as a model for its landscape design. Also part of a mill system. Part of Bolton Center Priority Heritage Landscape."

Source:

BOLTON RECONNAISSANCE REPORT:
(visit link)
Current Status: Ruin

Current Use: Pond and possible foundations only - area now a public park

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