Mill Talk: Before Waltham: the Lost Mills of Spot Pond Brook

This Mill Talk begins at 7:00pm. Doors open at 6:30

This talk is free, and light refreshments will be served!

Eventbrite - Mill Talk: The Lost Mill Village of Middlesex Fells

Have you ever wondered what came before the big brick mills in Waltham, Lawrence, and Lowell? Local Historians Douglas L. Heath and Alison C. Simcox trace the history of a nearby mill community that began in the 17th century and prospered until the mid-19th century.

One of the earliest mill communities in the Massachusetts Bay Colony formed along Spot Pond Brook,which flowed out of Spot Pond in Stoneham, MA. Thomas Coytmore built the first mill in 1640 at the brook’s downstream end in “Mistick Side” (present-day Malden). Other mills sprung up along the brook as well. Today, most of Spot Pond Brook is hidden in culverts beneath the busy streets of Malden and Melrose. However, remnants of the lost mill village of Haywardville - foundations, mill runs and ponds and waterfalls – are preserved within Middlesex Fells Reservation, part of Boston’s world-famous Metropolitan Park System.

With the waterpower from Spot Pond and its ravine, five mills were established, including one for the vulcanization of rubber, leading to Converse sneakers.  The area is replete with legendary events, including the first murder/bank robbery in the United States, grave robbing, warring parties protecting their dams with armed sentries.  It also boasts the first park in the world--Virginia Woods--donated to a private conservation group.

Douglas Heath was born in New Jersey and grew up in Taos, New Mexico, and New York City. He worked as a hydrogeologist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for 30 years, where he specialized in protecting drinking-water supplies in New England. As well as his work as a scientist, he is an experienced genealogist, local historian, and photographer using 19th century glass-plate methods.

Alison Simcox was born in London, England, and grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts. In 1998, she was the second woman to earn a doctorate in Engineering from Tufts University. She currently works in EPA’s air-quality program as a specialist in particle pollution and biomass energy. In her free time, she enjoys playing soccer, bicycling, running and ocean kayaking.

In addition to this latest book on one of America’s earliest mill communities, Doug and Alison are authors of three books in Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series: Lake Quannapowitt, Breakheart Reservation,and Middlesex Fells.

A book signing will follow the talk!

This Mill Talk begins at 7:00pm. Doors open at 6:30

This talk is free, and light refreshments will be served!

Eventbrite - Mill Talk: The Lost Mill Village of Middlesex Fells