Earl Taylor, President, Dorchester Historical Society

Tide Mills—How They Worked and Where They Were Located in the Boston Area from Revere to Quincy

The topic of Tide Mills represents a forgotten piece of American industrial history. Tide mill sites have been identified along the Atlantic coast of North America from Nova Scotia to the Carolinas.

Their dependence on the tides required adaptations in infrastructure and operations that made them different in some aspects from river mills. One of their advantages was that salt water seldom freezes. One of their disadvantages was that the miller could operate the mill only for specific hours in each 24-hour period after the mill pond was full and after the tide outside the pond has fallen sufficiently to allow the mill wheel to turn.

Now built over, most of the nearby mill sites are hidden. Yet, we can see how they worked, look at variations and take an armchair tour by exploring their locations through old maps and documents.

Earl Taylor (earltaylordorchhistsoc@gmail.com) is president of the Dorchester Historical Society.