Compiled by The Bedford Citizen
To accompany Jeff ‘JHo’ Hoyland’s splendid photograph of the spillway, it seems appropriate to share information about the Wilson Mill, courtesy of the Town of Bedford website:
The Wilson Mill site on Vine Brook is an important historical landmark. Lt. John Wilson built a corn mill on this site in 1685 which then included 30 acres for grinding “corne” with revolving stones.
This business was later carried on by the Gleason and Blodget families. In 1840, a paper mill was established on the site for manufacturing coarse paper. The paper mill was destroyed by fire, but the foundation of the old mill is still clearly visible at the bridge over Vine Brook. Old Burlington Road (the precursor to Route 62) was laid out as a direct consequence of the mill. During the incorporation of Bedford in 1729, there were extensive negotiations with Billerica to decide whether this important industrial resource would become part of Bedford or remain in Billerica. The mill pond, created by damming Vine Brook, is one of the few open bodies of water in Bedford.
The two historic mill parcels abut Vine Brook on the downstream side of the spillways. An additional parcel between Burlington Road and the Vine Brook mill pond is managed by the Conservation Commission.
The Wilson Mill Park Planning Committee sponsors improvement projects at the pond and Town-owned lands, including control of water chestnut in the pond, wildlife monitoring, and botanical surveys, and long-range park improvements.
Click these links to read about the reconstruction of the dam spillways, construction of a weir and stabilization of mill foundations and slopes on the downstream side of the dam: