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The Old Mill Wheel
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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One of the key factors in the settlement of Charlemont, as with almost all the towns of western Massachusetts, was the presence of water power. Streams had to be large enough to power a mill reliably but not so large as to be uncontrollable during flood season. For example, the Connecticut River itself was too big to be usable in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Charlemont, a town along the Deerfield River about fifteen miles west of Greenfield, settled around Mill Brook, a fast-flowing stream with regularly spaced natural falls. There, a grist mill was built around 1763, followed soon after by a saw mill. This mill may have been located on Hartwell's Brook, several miles east of Charlemont town center.
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