Dexter (Tub) Mill Park
The Dexter (Tub) Mill park is a nearly 4 acre parcel with lawns to the south along Route 6 and woods in the northern part of the property, behind the old mill pond dam.
There is street frontage on Route 6, Mendell Road and Acushnet Road. Off-street parking is available in the lot on Mendell Road, across from the Mattapoisett Highway Department barn. There are no kiosks, benches or other improvements at this park. Visitors with children are asked to use caution as the mill race could pose a danger.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, a water-powered sawmill was located at Dexter Mill. The sawmill, which burned down during a thunderstorm in 1911, manufactured staves for tubs and barrels. Today, only the earthen dam, mill race and turbine still exist. Tub Mill Brook flows from the north through the property, over the mill race and under Route 6 to Eel Pond and Mattapoisett Harbor. In the early days, the mill pond was a popular place in the winter as ice skaters from throughout the area flocked to it for their winter sport. Unfortunately, the pond no longer exists.
Early in the 1900’s, the landmark Dexter Elm tree became a place for the town to post notices and where residents gathered to catch the trolley to New Bedford. After the Dexter Elm succumbed to elm disease and old age, the tree was replaced in 1967 by the Mattapoisett Highway Department and Tree Warden John Denham.
During the Arbor Day Celebration in 2004 a disease-resistant Princeton Elm was planted in the field to the east of the dam, and more recently a third elm was planted in memory of Barney Helfand. A Yoshimo Cherry tree, purchased by a group of people at the Shipyard Galley as a memorial to Jan Spark’s father, also finds its home here.
This parcel was offered for residential development in the 1990’s by the estate of Frank Sylvia. With the cooperation and generosity of his heirs, MLT acquired the entire property for $50,000, only a small portion of the original asking price. We honor Sylvia heirs Doreen Nelson, Nancy Paquin and Beverly Sylvia-Grove for their generous gift.
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