Mills located on Chestnut Hill

By Natalie L. Coolidge

  1. Burgess Sawmill - The site of this mill lies underwater behind the Old Killingly Pond Dam. It is believed that in 1801, a crude dam was constructed several hundred feet above the present one. Built by Thomas Burgess, this dam supplied enough power to run his small sawmill that was one of the earliest uses of water power in the area.
  2. Bartlett Sawmill - Moving down through the reservoir system, we then come to the dam that contains the Bog Meadow Reservoir. A smaller dam at this location once contained the Bartlett Sawmill Pond. This pond was later flooded over by the building of the Bog Meadow Reservoir. The second site is located just below this dam. Originally built as a sawmill in 1834 by Reuben Bartlett and his son Waldo, it was converted to a carpet and stocking yarn mill three years later. In 1840 this small mill was again converted to handle the production of cotton cloth. In 1842 the mill was purchased by Henry Westcott and Thomas Pray and became part of their Chestnut Hill complex. Eventually this mill was converted back to its original use as a sawmill. The 1869 map shows it as a sawmill belonging to M. Miller. When the level of the Acme Pond was raised, this site was flooded and remains so to this day.
  3. Harris Woolen Mill - The site of this mill is located below the Acme Cotton Mill and just above the rapids. It is here that John G. Harris built a small woolen mill around the year 1830. This mill was also run by John and Henry Randall for a time and then sold to Reuben Bartlett and his son Richard in 1836. The Bartletts then operated the mill until it burned in 1840.
  4. Chestnut Hill Mill - This mill was built on the west side of Bailey Hill Road (also known for a time as Spruce Street). The building on this site has been known for the longest time as the Acme Mill. When it was built in 1846 by Westcott and Pray, it was called the Chestnut Hill Mill producing cotton goods for three years until they sold out to John Burgess in 1849. There has been a succession of owners over the years, at one time being fitted to manufacture wood machinery. In 1925 it became the Acme.
  5. Judge Young Mill - In 1811 Jabez Bowen and William Vincent of Scituate, RI purchased a gristmill from Richard Bartlett and converted it to house a carding machine. In 1813 Bowen and Vincent conveyed their establishment to the Chestnut Hill Manufacturing Co. and became partners with Nathan B. Clap, Solomon Sikes, and Judge Ebenezer Young. By 1820, Judge Young had acquired all shares of the company and had become the sole owner. This mill was enlarged and ultimately had a capacity of 100 looms and 6,000 spindles, and was powered by two water wheels. After Judge Young's death in 1851, the mill was taken over by his son Ebenezer, Jr. It was destroyed by fire in 1902. About the only thing remaining today is a portion of the headrace which has been overgrown by some rather large trees, and a brick arch at the tailrace of the tower building.
  6. Whitestone Mill - The first mill built on this site was called the Leffingwell Mill, also known as the "Sacramento." Captain Asa Alexander built this cotton mill of wood in 1828. It was destroyed by fire in 1855. In 1858 Westcott and Pray built a new mill and called it the Whitestone. Cotton goods were produced as well as being used as a bleachery and dyeing works, a book cloth company and a finishing company. On the night of Dec. 3, 1922, a fire broke out and by morning the mill was totally destroyed.