Do we ever really know what is under our feet? Do we know what is in our backyard? Do we know who came before us?
I have always been fascinated with local history. Growing up in Southbridge, MA,
a New England mill town, I have always looked at my surroundings and wondered about what came before. Wherever I travel I always look at the landscape, the roads, the stores, the houses and try to read the stories they have to tell.
The company I work for is located in an old mill building in Southbridge. I love the building and I began looking into its history. The mill was known as the Central Mills Company.
In researching this mill I learned that was built close to the site of one of the first mills built in the town, a saw mill built by Moses Marcy in 1732. He built a dam to harness the water power of the Quinebaug river. A few years later he expanded the mill adding a grist mill. This mill was built on the north side of the river just above the Central St. bridge.
The first log dam was replaced with a stone dam and this is reported as having been behind the railroad passenger station, located on Hook St. At the end of the dam on the north side of the river was the Marcy Saw and Grist Mill. In 1868 the mill was expanded and used to make carpet wrap, twine, and wicking. It became known as the twine mill.
Above the river is a cul-de-sac with the name of Twinehurst Place.
There are several houses here, all similar, known in New England as three-deckers, they were built to house the people who worked at the mills. At the bottom of the hill, next to the river, there are still remnants of what I believe to be the mill and dam.