photo by: Ken W. Watson
|Watson's Mill exists because of a decision made in 1858 to completely change the water control at the Long Island Lockstation. Up to this time, the Rideau River, which flowed around both sides of Long Island, merged back into one river at the foot of the island, above the locks. A weir through Nicolls Island let off surplus water. Spring flooding caused many problems with the weir, it had to be repaired many times. In 1858 it was decided to extend the foot of Long Island to Nicolls Island, and make the west channel of the Rideau River into a bypass (by-wash) channel. To control the flow into this by-wash, a new control dam was built at the location of present day Manotick.
It was this new dam that provided a head of water suffient to power a mill. Accordingly, Moss Kent Dickinson obtained the water rights and, with his partner Joseph Merrill Currier, built a mill which opened in 1860. Today, the surplus water of the Rideau River is still passed through the dam.
For more information about Watson's Mill see: www.watsonmills.com
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