There's the Waterwheel!

Fulling Mill, 1638, Rowley, Massachusetts, postcard
Postcard: Doug Peabody

One of my favorite memories as a child was spotting landmarks along the road as we traveled from place to place. I would call out the name of the place as though I was the only one to see it, or I had seen it first before anyone else.


Fulling Mill, 1638, Rowley, Massachusetts
Click any pic to magnify

One such place was situated along US Route 1 in Rowley, Massachusetts. It's the country's first fulling mill, that dates back to 1638. This landmark was sought out by me as we travel from our home to my grandfather's home. When I spotted it, I would always say and almost sang this line... "there's the waterwheel!"


Fulling Mill, 1638, Rowley, Massachusetts
Photo: Doug Peabody

The water wheel powered the machinery that processed wool. It was also a grist mill at one time. It's last use was as a gem mill, polishing stones smooth to be used in jewelry.


Fulling Mill, circa 1638, Rowley, Massachusetts
Photo: Doug Peabody

The waterwheel was very noticeable as it was painted orange and lighted at night. It always seemed to be turning. It was easy to spot from the road back then, but now has numerous trees growing up around the property.

Fulling Mill, 1638, Rowley, Massachusetts
Photo: Doug Peabody

Today the wheel no longer turns. It's there sitting idle, looking as though it is ready to provide power to process wool as is did centuries ago.

First Fulling, 1638, Rowley, Massachusetts
Photo: Doug Peabody


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