Laurel Harnessed the River to Power the Cotton Mill

Laurel Harnessed the River to Power the Cotton Mill (HM1D8Y)

Location: Laurel, MD 20707 Prince George's County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 6.613', W 76° 51.63'

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Riverfront Park Heritage & Nature Trail

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 1879
HM NumberHM1D8Y
Placed ByCity of Laurel
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, October 27th, 2014 at 2:37am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 339140 N 4330655
Decimal Degrees39.11021667, -76.86050000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 6.613', W 76° 51.63'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 6' 36.78" N, 76° 51' 37.80" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)240, 301, 410
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 227 Patuxent Rd, Laurel MD 20707, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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