BARTON â€“ An unnamed river, which is the central outlet to a 24-square-mile watershed highlighted by Crystal Lake and May Pond, was for over 140 years an energy source that resulted in the founding of â€śBarton Mills,â€ť now the Town of Barton. In a span of less than a quarter mile, the river serves as the outlet to Crystal Lake and cascades down a 90-foot vertical drop before emptying into the Barton River.
Asa Kimball was the first person to take advantage of the hydro power at Crystal Lake Falls, when he built a grist mill in 1797 and a sawmill in 1798. Six years, later Ellis Cobb set up a fulling mill and four years later a carding mill. A fulling mill is used to manufacture clothing while a carding mill processes wool. The agriculture industry in Vermont was dominated by sheep farming for over a hundred years before the dairy industry took over.
Take a walk with Ed Barber through the history of the falls and the development of hydro power in Barton, and then read about how a committee has been formed to take advantage of this natural resource. All in Monday's edition of The Newport Daily Express for Sept. 30, 2013.