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This may seem a bit odd for a blog, but please hear me out.  Each day on my way to Tupper Hill, I head south on Main Street in Wales (aka Route 19).  You may have noticed it yourself.  It’s right by the library.  Sometimes it’s not quite so much of nuisance if it’s been patched.  Other times it’s an unavoidable bump, or worse.  It’s the Wales Pothole.  I used to cuss about it never being fixed properly because it always returns, sometimes with a vengeance.  Then I attended one of our winter lectures, and I think I figured out why the pothole exists.

A few years ago Ed Hood, a landscape historian and executive director of Opacum Land Trust, did a presentation on the Town of Wales- Past, Present & Future.  Ed has put together a number of these programs on our local communities, spending hours delving into old maps, photos and memories from local folks. During his talk on Wales, which was a booming community during its heyday as noted by the architecture along Main Street, the many mills were discussed.  One in particular caught my attention- the Shaw Manufacturing Company Woolen Mill.

[lightbox link=”http://norcrosswildlife.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Closeup_Shaw.jpg” thumb=”http://norcrosswildlife.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Closeup_Shaw-320×200.jpg” width=”320″ align=”right” title=”The yellow highlights the route of the race- note how it goes UNDER Main Street right in front of where the library is!” frame=”true” icon=”image” caption=”The yellow highlights the route of the race- note how it goes UNDER Main Street right in front of where the library is!”]

This mill was located where the Meeting House Quilt Stop currently is, formerly the location of Saint Monica’s Church.  Looking at a circa 1870’s map (Beers Atlas), you can see the site, just northwest of Shawville Pond.  If you look carefully, there is a race that brought water from the pond, under the road, and to the mill.  There was channel dug under the road at one time!  Could it be that this antique infrastructure is still crumbling away under Main Street, creating the eternal pothole?

With winter setting in, the pothole will once again form, be patched, and reform again.  Perhaps it, like the old homes along Main Street, serves as a reminder of this community’s past.

[lightbox link=”http://norcrosswildlife.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/WalesPhoto.jpg” thumb=”http://norcrosswildlife.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/WalesPhoto-320×200.jpg” width=”320″ align=”left” title=”Shawville Pond with what is now the library in the center. Behind and and running towards the Shaw Mill is what looks like a road, but is actually the canal going to the top of the mill. The lower canal/tail race is not visible. The Mayor told me that those things in the back that look like solar panels were drying racks for textiles being made or dyed there….. Pretty amazing photo for the detail it captures….- Quote from Ed Hood” frame=”true” icon=”image” caption=”Shawville Pond with what is now the library in the center. Behind and and running towards the Shaw Mill is what looks like a road, but is actually the canal going to the top of the mill. The lower canal/tail race is not visible. The Mayor told me that those things in the back that look like solar panels were drying racks for textiles being made or dyed there….. Pretty amazing photo for the detail it captures….- Quote from Ed Hood”]

 

 

 

Thank you to Ed Hood and “The Mayor” David Worth for keeping history alive.

 

 

 

 

Stay Tuned!  The 2017 Winter Lectures will be published shortly…

 

 

 

 

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