When Buckingham Reservoir was built in 1914, a massive earthen dam was built in the path of Roaring Brook. The water was diverted towards spillway, where a new current for the water was created. The original stream was – and still is – used to release excess water.
However, not far from the release pipes is a dam, seemingly counter-productive if the goal is to get rid of water. However, it is the remains of a sawmill built long before the reservoir ever existed.
The Sturgeon Sawmill dam is two-parts: One – the larger portion – looks like a built-up stone wall spanning along a the side of a pond. The other is the spillway where the water flows over which looks more like a traditional dam. However, it’s just two feet high and 10 feet wide, one of the smallest in town.
The remains from the sawmill itself have long disappeared as the dam sits alone in the woods.
According to “The Memorial History of Hartford County” by J. Hammond Trumbull, published in 1886, “About a mile farther down (From Coop Sawmill) are the vestiges of another saw-mill.” This sawmill is in fact a mile downstream from Coop Sawmill despite being unidentified. There are no other dams from here to Shoddy Mill Pond and any other dams upstream would be beneath the reservoir.
The name “Sturgeon Sawmill” comes from Roaring Brook’s original name: Sturgeon River.