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 pond but burned down in the early 2000’s.
Today, the dam still stands in decent condition. It spans 178 feet while standing just six feet high. On the eastern end where the mill stood. In the pond is a wheel that was once used to open and close the sluicegate to increase/decrease the waterflow through the mill. However, those pipes have since been clogged by beavers and no longer work. 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.
There’s a wall perpendicular to the dam that holds back the earth from the water. Nearby are the remains of the mill with just a few small stone footings that once made up the foundation.
In 2016, the Town of Glastonbury announced it would remove the dam as environmental compensation for placing riprap in the Connecticut River along the boathouse. The deadline to remove the dam is June 30, 2018.
Sadly, the dam has now been removed. It is unclear how much remains from the de-construction.
Article originally posted Nov. 20, 2017. Updated Feb. 27, 2018.