Saturday, June 21, 2014

Albion to Manville - June 21, 2014

 Up the Blackstone Canal
It’s the first day of summer, so I had to get out to paddle.  Unfortunately, I had stuff to do at home, so I couldn’t go far.  Frank and I ended up scouting the trip we will do Tuesday night with the Blackstone Valley Paddle Club – the Blackstone River from Albion to Manville. 

It was a beautiful morning when I arrived at the bike path in Albion.  Frank was already there, so we got our gear together and headed up to the put-in above the Albion Dam. 

Below the Manville Dam
Although you can’t see it from the put-in, the Albion Mill Village is one of the best preserved of the Blackstone River’s original mill villages.  The first mill was built here in the 1820s, and was expanded several times after.  The Valley Falls Company constructed the main section of the current mill in 1908. 

We launched from the put-in above the Albion Dam, and paddled up a through a washed out section of the 1828 Blackstone Canal before entering the Blackstone River.  From Albion, it’s a short paddle upstream to the old Manville Mill Village. 

Running the last drop
Manville is one of the oldest industrial sites on the Blackstone River.  Industrial activity started there in the late 17th century when the Wilkinson family established a foundry on the site – Unity Furnace.  In 1811, the Unity Manufacturing Company was established to manufacture cotton cloth. By the 1920s, the Manville Mill was the largest textile mill in the United States with over 5,000 employees.  It was significantly damaged in 1955 during the floods resulting from Hurricane Carol, and completely destroyed in a fire a few weeks later. 

The water was shallow as we approached the Manville Dam (1 foot, 200 cfs on the Woonsocket gage), but I was able to paddle up the first drop, through the piers, and up to the Manville Hill Road Bridge.  From there, I carried up to the dam to run the easy rapids below the dam.  It should be a nice run with the paddle club on Tuesday.

Albion Mill - c. 1874 and 1909
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1 comment:

  1. Canoeing and history...the perfect combination.... thanks!

    ReplyDelete