Although it has become a popular place for parents to take their children during summer vacation, Eastbury Pond was once powered the largest of three mills (Shoddy Mill upstream, Hodge’s Pond downstream) along a 1.5-mile stretch of Roaring Brook in the small village of Eastbury – which included a church, cemetery, schoolhouse and post office.
The mill was built in 1840 by the Roaring Brook Manufacturing Company as a cotton and woolen mill owned by William C. Sparks. However, it changed hands in 1862 when Edwin Crosby and Sereno Hubbard purchased it. The mill made a big profit during the Civil War and it was enlarged to keep up with demand. After the death of Hubbard, Crosby took full control and the mill became known as the Crosby Manufacturing Company.
In 1928, it became Angus Park Manufacturing, producing heavy woolen goods with around 150 workers. In 2015, the remaining parts of the mill built in 1860 were destroyed by a massive fire, removing one of the final traces of the manufacturing history in the hollow.
Now, the last glimpse of that era is the large stone dam that holds back the water of Eastbury Pond. The pond is pretty different from the days of the mill as dirt walkways have been built to separate swimming areas from fishing areas. With the development of the area as a recreation center, the sluiceway has been replaced with the entrance driveway.
Eastbury Pond is one of the few places that found a new life after the mill it powered disappeared. Most dams simply crumble until they break or are removed for ecological reasons. Luckily, the dam should stand for a long time as it gives generations of kids a way to visit the beach without leaving the comforts of town.