BARTON – 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 “Barton Mills,” 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.