Let’s go explore the abandoned Plimpton Pond Mill ruins at the Plimpton Pond Dam in Walpole, Massachusetts. This is a very low-key location that I only stumbled upon solely by wandering a short trail. I have never seen any photos or videos of this place before.
The adventure begins at the parking area which is small and unassuming. Visitors can park along Plimpton Street and then access the trailhead. The trail is called the Endean Trail and it allows visitors to walk around Plimpton Pond and along the Neponset River. The trail itself is not the greatest in terms of conditions considering it is rather muddy and also overgrown in some areas. Continue walking around the pond until you see the old dam and mill building. This dam is very old and it is in pretty rough condition. It is not recommended that explorers cross the dam, but I was super interested to get a look inside the old mill structure on the other side. It is cool to see this pipe running from the pond down into the building.
I made my way down to the building and I was shocked to find some old equipment inside. There is no real history behind this place except for one article from the Walpole Historical Society. Plimpton Pond was first developed for commercial usage in 1816 when Henry Plimpton purchased land around the upper section of the pond. Henry established a blacksmith operation where he would manufacture farm equipment, specifically hoes. In 1844, he expanded the operations when he purchased this lower section at Plimpton Pond. At this lower section, Henry built a foundry which made satinets and hosiery yarn but demand was not too large for these products. Within a short period of time, the lower foundry was converted to produce hoes and steel springs just like the foundry upper section.
Eventually Henry’s sons Calvin and H.M. Plimpton took over the foundry operations. Calvin was the driving force behind the operation, shipping its products as far as California, but in 1864, while showing a group of visitors around the mill, his leg was caught in the machinery and broken. He died ten days later of blood infection. His widow had no choice but to sell the mill and the business, though she remained on Lewis Farm nearby. The Linden Spring and Axle Co. was a willing buyer. The new owners continued operations. In 1875, it was reported that this foundry was the largest employers in the town with 50 hands being at work. Over the years, the business declined and slowly but surely the buildings were lost to fire and decay.
Years later, Calvin’s son, George Plimpton, reassembled and extended the family’s former properties, even restoring the ruined dam at the lower section of Plimpton Pond. At the close of the 19th century, George Plimpton established a working farm which revived some of the traditional practices of his Colonial American forebears. A large force of laborers tilled the land using traditional tools, raising cattle, sheep and selling its products: milk, homespun wool, and handicrafts. Family members spun and carded, and George Plimpton himself wore a suit woven of cloth from his own sheep.
In 1951, George’s son, who inherited Lewis Farm, decided that the time had come to sell the property. After selling the property was split up and many different residential structures were completed. Today, the Endean Trail allows visitors to walk around the old area and admire the old mill building and dam. There is private property on both sides of the trail.
- Year Established: 1844
- Year Abandoned: 1951
- Original Function: Mill built by Henry Plimpton to produce satinets and hosiery yarn