Waterways

Waterways

Improvements in roads, bridges and waterways in the 18th century encouraged increased movement of goods and people as populations spread from Boston to outlying areas including Canton. The Neponset River’s flows encouraged dam-building and manufacturing as businesses sought to use water as an energy source. Iron and metal manufacturing, in particular, flourished along the river. This energy source attracted Paul Revere, the entrepreneur, to purchase land and water rights on the Canton River (shown on some maps as the East Branch of the Neponset River) for his future factory on what is now the Paul Revere Heritage Site.

The factories are long gone but visitors to the site can walk along unobstructed views of the Neponset River and two lovely dams: a town-owned dam and a curved dam built in 1964 by the U.S. Corps of Engineers after a severe flood devastated downtown Canton. (Coincidentally, Richard Gridley d. 1796, America’s first chief engineer and “father” of the Army Corps of Engineers, lived about a mile from the Paul Revere Heritage Site and is buried in the Canton Corner Cemetery).
The importance of water is everywhere, and the renovated site has returned the river to the state that Paul Revere might recognize.