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Granite in the Lagoon - In: Blog

In : Blog Comments : 0 Author : louisem Date : 13 Jun 2019

The “lagoon” was built as a reservoir for the canals that provided the water power for the early Pepperell mills. This lagoon was built in the 1840s as part of the canal system that took water from the Saco River at Jordan’s Creek and brought it into the mill complex to provide the power to turn the turbines that created the mechanical power to turn the leather belts that powered the machinery. The water came in through canals and then dropped down to another set of canals which enter the lagoon here. The water flowed through the existing canals that powered the Laconia Mill and eventually emptied into the Saco River near Main Street. This lagoon was part of the system built to power the Pepperell Mills. Laconia Mills had water power from another set of canals.

The lagoon was open to air until 1910 when this building was built. The ceiling is the floor for #10-1 Mill which is suspended from the steel beams in the ceiling of to Mill. Notice the turn buckles when you go upstairs.

The granite was mined from local quarries on the Pool Road, Granite Street, and Mountain Road. Each quarry had its own grade of granite that dictated the use. The Saco Water Power Company, the owners of the Pepperell Mill, purchased the Pool Road quarry in 1848 and kept it until 1871. The granite from these quarries was used up and down the East Coast for buildings, monuments , and statues.

The granite was cut by hand and moved by oxen to barges and wagons to reach its final destination. Notice how nicely it all fits together.
The canals were dug by hand and horse drawn scoops by the many people coming to Biddeford to share in the prosperity of the new mills. Many stayed and built the cobblestone streets that ran throughout the city. Such was life in city from 1840 to 1880.

References:
National Register of Historic Places

-Dana Peck

Granite Quarries of Biddeford Working in the Weave Room