Mill River History — End of the 17th-Century Section

John has posted the last of Section 5 on the early European settlement to the end of the 17th century.  Stay tuned for the 18th —   Oh, how slowly does the hand of history move!

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Additions to Mill River History

Well, folks, John has finally gotten around to revising and adding to his Mill River history.  Parts 5A and 5B are now available here and here.  We’ll post more shortly.  Enjoy the bedtime reading, and please comment, suggest, or make corrections to this ongoing project.  Thanks.

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Leeds Walk Reprise! Saturday, November 8

We’re thrilled to announce that the Leeds Mill River Greenway Committee will be reprising their fascinating stroll through this historic mill village on Saturday, November 8 from 10-12.  There are very few spots left, so please reserve your place by emailing

Heidi Stevens, Jason Johnson, Sue Carbin, and Penny Geis will lead the Leeds walk, telling tales of the great 1874 Flood and other stories.

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Williamsburg Reservoir Dam Walk 11/1/14

We’re excited about our upcoming river walk in Williamsburg, which will take us up to the old dam itself.

The walk will take place this Saturday, November 1 from 9:30am to 12:30pm.  For our regulars, please note the longer time frame this month to accommodate a packed agenda!

Please park in the Anne T. Dunphy School parking lot and walk to meet up on the front lawn of the Meekins Library, facing Florence Savings Bank.  We’ll be joined by local Landscape Artist/Architect Todd Lynch, who’ll introduce his Flotsam Weirs installation at the confluence of the west and east branches of the Mill River.

From there we’ll carpool in as few cars as possible up to Judd Lane, the trail head for the old dam.  Our guide for the dam walk will be the esteemed Eric Weber from Williamsburg Historical Society.

Back to the center of town by 12:30pm.  As always please let me know if you will NOT be able to make it to make room for other folks off the waiting list.

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Directions to Flotsam Weirs in Williamsburg

At summer’s end, we’re looking back on a wonderful series of walks and some great news that we’ll be sharing with you in the next couple of weeks.  Meanwhile, what remains?  Well, here are directions to Todd Lynch’s fantastic “Flotsam Weirs,” which you might have seen in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.  Take time to visit it, especially now that the leaves are falling.  (The bird’s nest, by the way, was placed there by an unnamed visitor.  You’re welcome to add your flotsam to the weirs.  Until soon, your co-moderators Gaby, Neal, and John.

Directions to Todd Lynch's Flotsam Weirs in Williamsburg

Directions to Todd Lynch’s Flotsam Weirs in Williamsburg

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Welcome Back to a Busy September

Welcome back from a cool, wet, lovely summer.  We’ve got a busy fall planned for the Mill River, starting with 3 (count ‘em — three) walks in September alone.  Here’s what’s coming your way:

Saturday, September 6, Riverwalk in Leeds, a wonderful historic village in Northampton, near the Northampton/Williamsburg town line, which dates back to the 18th century.  Heidi Stevens and Jason Johnson, founders of the Mill River Greenway Committee of the Leeds Civic Association, will lead us on a tour that will focus on the heyday of Leeds during the first three-quarters of the 19th century, with stops at the Old Nonotuck Woolen Mill and 3 other mill sites, the old post office and train depot, the Dimock mansion, the Hotel Bridge, and the memorial to the 1874 Flood that devastated Leeds.  There are very few places left for this walk, so please write us at if you’d like too participate or to get on the waiting list.  If there is sufficient interest, Heidi and Jason will organize a repeat of this walk later in the fall.

Saturday, September 13th Todd Lynch’s Art Installation, “Flotsam Weirs,” in Williamsburg.  See below, posts on Aug. 5 and 6, for details.  You do not need to sign up for this walk to participate.

Saturday, September 20th, Florence II Riverwalk — Crimson & Clover Farm to Meadow St. Bridge.
        This walk from Crimson & Clover Farm on Spring St. to the Meadow St. Bridge combines historic and ecological information.  Laurie Sanders will talk about Mill River ecology as we travel along the river corridor, and Elizabeth Sharpe (In the Shadow of the Dam) will discuss the dramatic results of the 1874 Flood, which ended at what is now the farm and recreational fields in Florence.  There are very few places left for this walk, so please  please write us at if you’d like to participate or to get on the waiting list.

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Todd Lynch 9/13 Updated Link

Here’s a link to Todd Lynch’s blog that gives you a hint of this exciting adventure next month.  Note the nest (probably a Carolina wren) a bird couple already built in the photo in the second row, far right.

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Sept. 13th New River Walk and Art Installation in Williamsburg

MRGI is proud and excited to support Todd Lynch’s art installation, lecture, and walk on the Mill River in Williamsburg on Saturday Sept. 13th.  Todd is a landscape architect and artist who’s been a long-time friend of the Mill River.  He will be creating a series of “flotsam weirs,” or interwoven nets of Mill River flotsam that will lead the walker down through the peninsula created by the East and West Branch of the Mill at their confluence in Williamsburg.

Meeting details: Meet at 10:00 at Meekins Library in Williamsburg, then a 5-minute walk to the site of the installation where Todd will lead a tour and discussion of his work.

Here is Todd’s proposal for his work sponsored by the Williamsburg Cultural Council: Todd’s proposal Todd Lynch weir proposal


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Leeds Riverwalk on Sept. 6

Just to clarify the Riverwalk Schedule: the riverwalk in Leeds is still scheduled for Saturday, September 6.

We’re excited  about this new riverwalk, which will be led by residents of Leeds, so all of us will be able to get some real insider information.  The historic place of Leeds in the river’s history is key to our understanding our whole river system.  Furthermore, the extension of the rail trail between Leeds and Haydenville is a particularly hot topic of discussion.

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August Change of Date and July 12th Riverwalk

The August 9th Riverwalk has been rescheduled for September 20th

The riverwalk from Crimson & Clover Farm to the Meadow St. Bridge, originally scheduled for August 9, has been rescheduled for SEPTEMBER 20TH so that both Laurie Sanders and Elizabeth Sharpe will be able to co-lead it.  If you have already signed up for the August 9 date and can still make the Sept. 20th date, you will have priority.  Please let us know if you can make it by contacting us at

July 12th Riverwalk

There are still several spots open for the first Florence riverwalk on Saturday morning, July 12th, led by Wendy Sinton, long-time member of the Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee.  The walk will focus on the importance of the Mill River in the growth of Florence, as well as the role of abolitionists and the Northampton Association of Education and Industry in the 19th century.  Reserve your spot at

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