As mills in New England progressed from simple pre-Revolutionary saw and grist mills to large, stone factories, the latter were often built on the same site as the former. This usually happened because the watersource was good or mills were upgraded over the years. However, a pair of dams in the highlands of East Glastonbury tell a different story.
Just east of Diamond Lake is a mostly-dry pond created by a large dam, made of both stone and earth. It has the shape of a reservoir dam: Tall and wide but triangular as well, giving it more support than a tall and narrow stone dam such as Shoddy Mill or Smut Pond. There’s more reason to believe it was a reservoir as there’s no evidence of a mill in the area. Only a crude spillway can still be seen which likely prevented the pond from washing out the dam.
Although mostly made of dirt, large stones can be seen along the back side of the dam as well as the very bottom. While there’s no visible breach, it no longer holds much water back, as the pond has dramatically shrunk. However, this has revealed a piece of history that would not be visible with the full pond.
This large dam was not the first dam in the area. In fact, it wasn’t the first dam on this pond. An earlier dam can be seen 30 yards behind the dam, this one much smaller and made of stone. It appears to have been the water source of an ancient mill, although nearly all vestiges of it have completely vanished. When the larger dam was built, the resulting pond flooded the smaller dam and whatever may have remained of the mill.
Today, both dams can still be seen although they have long since become obsolete. Records of anything in this are are non-existent but part of the charm of lost history is the element of mystery. Even if you can’t know what was here, it can still be appreciated in its modern-day state.