Blackledge Falls is more well-known for its namesake than it is for the history within the park. However, that history still plays a major role.
Long ago on what is now the park, a dam was used to a power an up-and-down sawmill along the Blackledge River. It was built c. 1810, where a sawmill remained until 1935. After the mill closed, it was moved up to Sturbridge Village as one of the many displays.
The pond was then used by both the Cheney Family of Manchester and the Danskin Family of Glastonbury as a summer retreat. There were two cabins on the site, one of which can still be seen on the eastern side of the pond. The other was located on the western side of the water but burned down in the early 2000’s.
The dam stood in decent condition up until 2018, when it was removed by the Town of Glastonbury as environmental compensation for placing riprap in the Connecticut River along the boathouse. It spanned 178 feet and stood just six feet high. The mill stood on the eastern end, straddling the top of the mill and the ground.
In the pond itself, there was a wheel that opened and closed the sluicegate to increase/decrease the waterflow through the mill. When the town tried to drain the pond to begin the removal project, those pipes were clogged by beavers. The sluicegate is a small square, about a square foot. Part of the sluiceway can still be seen where the rocks line the shore to guide the water. On the western side, there used to be a stone wall that made up the beginning of the dam before the larger, square rocks began with a small, stone platform that viewers could sit on.
While the Blackledge River now flows freely where the dam once stood, the eastern-most portion of the structure still exists. The remains slope up from the stream bed to the shore, where a perpendicular stone wall once served as part of the foundation to the mill. The sluicegate is still visible as well as the previous remains from the sluiceway.