Shoddy Mill was built in the 1840’s, around the same time as other textile mills in town such as Crosby Manufacturing (Located at Eastbury Pond) and the Hopewell Mill. As its name suggests, it produced shoddy, a recycled wool product that was cheap. According to this article by the Hartford Courant, workers from the Crosby Manufacturing Company would travel up to Shoddy Mill to “grind woolen waste of different colors into a dark blue product from which a woolen yarn was spun.” The mill closed in 1906 and the pond was converted to tenement housing. The town purchased the property in the late 60’s to preserve it for open space.
Today, while the mill has vanished, the huge dam can still be seen. It spans over 50 yards and stands over 10 feet high. While broken on its eastern-most side, it remains one of the most beautiful dams in town. The masonry is still in excellent condition and is a great tribute to Yankee craftsmanship. A few large nails stick out of the top and likely help to hold the stones in place. There are a few perpendicular supports that allow easy access to the bottom of the dam where its size and masonry can truly be appreciated.
The sluicegate is still functioning and a solid flow can be seen coming through it if the water is high enough. Stones still line the flume before it re-joins with the main stream. On the opposite bank, there’s some metal and stonework that can be seen, likely the ruins of a smaller building connected to the larger mill.
The mill pond still exists thanks to beavers, who have built a dam across the breached section.