The two photos above show what appears to be the dam of the Thwing mill
    on the left. They show the upstream side of the dam, west of the river. On
    the right side of each picture is what was the bottom of the millpond.

This picture shows the top of the dam, also west of the river.

    This photo shows the top of the dam, west of the Mill River,
    taken from the remains of the dam on the east side.

    Here's another view of the dam, looking
    toward the west side of the river.

    It seems likely that the stones in the middle of this picture, beyond the river,
    must have been part a mill building foundation. However, it is on the opposite
    side of the river from the mill site in the 1851 map below. The 1898 map
    shows two buildings at the site. The stones may be part of the smaller one.

    The map above was drawn in 1851. The complete map can be seen on
    the wall of the reference room at the Bancroft Library. The Gaskill mills at
    the bottom right eventually became the Westcott Mill. The saw mill in the
    middle became the Thwing mill. Considering the millstones that were
    found on the site, it appears that the mill was converted to a gristmill.
    Also, as you'll see below, Gordon Hopper referred to it as a gristmill.

    This 1898 map shows the Thwing mill near the bottom. The road
    off of Hopedale Street, between the Hopedale Stable and the John
    A. Moore properties, appears to be located where Thwing Street is
    now. The long-gone millpond, extended up to what was called Main
    Street - now Route 16/Mendon Street.

                                       The Almon Thwing Mill

    What I'm referring to as the Thwing mill was probably the one built and operated
    by Samuel Walker before Almon Thwing took it over. According to Hopper's
    history of the Mill River, "Samuel Walker’s gristmill with a 9-foot fall occupied the
    eighth site." He describes it as being downstream from the Dutcher Company
    site and upstream from the Westcott mill. Evidence that it, at some point, came
    under the ownership of Almon Thwing is given in Adin Ballou's History of Milford,
    p. 333. "Thwing St., from Hopedale, westward over Mill River, to gristmill;
    accepted, 1859; named with respectful reference to Almon Thwing, who then
    owned the mill-seat; 46 rods, 20 links long, and 2 rods wide; contents, about 93
    1/2 rods."

    As part of his History of Milford, Ballou hired Thwing to survey the town, which at
    that time (evidently scheduled to be published in time for the Milford Centennial in
    1880, but actually printed in 1882) included Hopedale. (The elevations and drops
    cited in the Hopper history of the Mill River - link below- evidently were taken from
    Thwing's survey.) Here Ballou refers to the mill near Thwing Steet as belonging
    to Thwing, but in Thwing's survey of the Mill River, in the same book, he refers to it
    as Walker's mill. Possibly Thwing owned the land and "mill privilege" but Walker
    owned the mill. Another possibility is that ownership changed hands during the
    years when Ballou was working on the book.

    You may also have noticed that the 1851 map refers to it as a saw mill, but the
    Hopper history mentions Walker's gristmill. Was one source wrong, or did the
    function of the mill change? The fact that two millstones were found in the vicinity
    (see Town Park Millstones below) suggests that it must have been, at least at
    one time, a gristmill. Possibly it began as a sawmill but over the years the cutting
    of trees eventually left the area with too few to make it profitable in that line of
    work and it was converted. Another possibility is that both were there, at the same
    time.

                 Almon Thwing              Thwing Family              Town Park Millstones       

                                                                  
The Walker Family   

                                
The Mill River by Gordon Hopper                HOME   


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    Thanks to Brian Sullo for the image above, in which
    he overlaid the 1898 map that shows the Thwing
    mill site onto a current Google Earth view.