Two Rivers & Many Industries
To understand how Chester settled and prospered, look no further than the North and South Branches of the Pattaconk Brook. As in similar New England settlements, the earliest attempts to harness power involved the creation of dams and construction of grist and saw mills.
The 19th century witnessed Chester’s greatest industrial growth and development. During this ‘Golden Age’, numerous businesses were founded along the two branches, which were fed from the hills to the north and west before joining in the cove just below the present center of town.
The North and South Branches, with their 24 dams and numerous ponds, became the keystones to Chester’s industrial history. Some larger manufacturing facilities still stand today; only their use has changed. Many of the dams and ponds are easily visible as well.
Join us as we take a journey down these streams. Explore the industrial sites. View a gristmill model and a diorama of the building in which you are now standing. Appreciate the enterprise of ownership and the variety of items produced in our small town.