This past weekend we ventured out to the rail trail again. This time around I brought my family with me. The Mass Central Rail Trail consists of what once was a 104-mile route of the railroad that runs from Northampton to Boston. The area I walked is part of what is known as the Wachusett Greenways rail trail. This is a 30 mile stretch found in the towns of Sterling, West Boylston, Holden, Rutland, and Oakham. This section I'm talking about today is the West Boylston/Holden section going from Oakdale to River Street along the Quinapoxet River which totals 3 miles in length.
Right from the start the area is very scenic. This wall with the ivy growing on it is found on the right side at the Oakdale entrance. On the left side you have the which is either the Quinapoxet River or the Stillwater River (not sure which). The Quinapoxet and Stillwater Rivers are the two major tributaries to the Wachusett Reservoir.
Once of the nice features if you have children is the storybook walk found at the beginning of the trail. Every 100 feet or so you can find a sign post. Each one of these posts contain a page from a children's book. For this visit the title of the book was Danny and the Dinosaur. I haven't walked this trail enough to know if the book changes at all. In any event, Ashley loved this feature.
It is not uncommon to find fisherman along the rail trail. Seasonal fishing is permitted. I happened to notice a few signs warning fisherman that water levels can change at a moments notice. I imaging that this dam and the spillway beside pictured below have something to do with it.
My first visit, this spillway did not have any water flowing through it. I was surprised to see how much water was flowing this past weekend.
A little over 1 mile in you reach the I-190 overpass. Here is where the Sprindale Mill River Walk starts. An interesting thing I noticed is that dogs are not allowed past this point. It seems that a lot of people go up to this point and turn around to head back. Not sure if it has anything to do with the dogs not allowed or just the fact that it makes a roughly 2 mile round trip.
1\2 mile past the I-190 overpass you find the Springdale Mill. This is a historic site dating back to 1865. By 1879, the mill manufactured 250,000 yards of fancy cassimeres (closely woven twill wool, usually used for men's suits), and employed over 35 people, a large percentage of the adult population of Springdale.
Pictured here is not the original turbine used at the mill, but it is the same model.
This site has two locations if you will. Along side the river and on the west side of the rail trail is where the mill was. If you head east and walk up the trail leading up the hill you will find where the village was. An important part of the mill being successful was having able workers to work the mill. This village was owned by the mill owner and had multifamily tenant buildings. In all roughly 35 adults lived here.
About all that is left of the village is these stone foundations. You will find 5 or 6 of these at the top of the hill. Mill operation ceased its operations in 1906. This was around the time that the Wachusett Reservoir was created and there was fear that the river feeding it would get polluted by this mill as well as others.
I'd have to say, I just love the reflections I see here each time I visit.