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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Laurel in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Laurel Harnessed the River to Power the Cotton Mill

Riverfront Park Heritage & Nature Trail

 
 
Laurel Harnessed the River to Power the Cotton Mill Marker image. Click for full size.
By A. Taylor, January 20, 2014
1. Laurel Harnessed the River to Power the Cotton Mill Marker
Inscription. Laurel's earliest mill was established on land originally inhabited by Native Americans. The early mills were located on the banks of the Patuxent River at the fall line. Here the River elevation changes and provides an excellent source of water power.

A Massive Dam and a Mill Race

A massive dam built in 1850 controlled the Patuxent River's flow in order to supply water to the Laurel Cotton Mill.

According to newspaper reports in 1855 the dam measured 222 feet wide and was 27 feet tall. A canal on the south bank, called the mill race, ran about 600 feet and directed water into the mill.

Wooden doors in the large sluice gate across the channel were used to control the flow of water. These would be opened or closed depending on the power needed. Water flowed from the race or canal to the mill where it powered two overshot wheels and later a large Boyden Turbine before flowing back into the river. The dam needed frequent repairs. Most of the dam was blown up in the 1940s.

June 16, 1879 - Rather short of water to-
day.dam leaks badly.. June 25..Stopped (sic)
some of the leaks on dam.. June 28 Dam
leaking badly again July 3, 1879. Stopped mill
till 21st in order to repair dam.

Diary of Laurel Mills Superintendent George Nye, June-July
Laurel Harnessed the River to Power the Cotton Mill Marker image. Click for full size.
By A. Taylor, January 20, 2014
2. Laurel Harnessed the River to Power the Cotton Mill Marker
1879
 
Erected by City of Laurel.
 
Location. 39° 6.613′ N, 76° 51.63′ W. Marker is in Laurel, Maryland, in Prince George's County. Click for map. Marker is down a path into the woods from the west end of Main St. Marker is in this post office area: Laurel MD 20707, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Water From the Dam Powered the Cotton Mill (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Laurel Harnessed the River to Power the Cotton Mill (about 700 feet away); The Old Stone Methodist Church (about 800 feet away); Laurel Cotton Mill and Dam (approx. 0.2 miles away); Laurel Factory: (approx. 0.2 miles away); Laurel Factory: A Mill Town (approx. 0.2 miles away); Casula Point (approx. 0.2 miles away); Laurel: A Factory Town Bridging Two Counties (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Laurel.
 
Also see . . .  Laurel Historical Society's info about the Mill. (Submitted on March 3, 2014, by A. Taylor of Laurel, Maryland.)
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels
 
Ruins of dam used for Laurel Mill image. Click for full size.
By A. Taylor, January 20, 2014
3. Ruins of dam used for Laurel Mill
Ruins of dam used for Laurel Mill image. Click for full size.
By A. Taylor, January 20, 2014
4. Ruins of dam used for Laurel Mill
Swimming image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 15, 2014
5. Swimming
Water was held behind the dam in a reservoir. WWI soldiers housed at the mill while in training used it as a swimming hole.
Close-up of photo on marker
Laurel Mill image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 15, 2014
6. Laurel Mill
Close-up of photo on marker
View of Dam in Winter image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 15, 2014
7. View of Dam in Winter
Close-up of photo on marker
View of Dam from Mill image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 15, 2014
8. View of Dam from Mill
Close-up of photo on marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by A. Taylor of Laurel, Maryland. This page has been viewed 323 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by A. Taylor of Laurel, Maryland.   5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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