History of Rock Village Bed & Breakfast
The history of Middleboro has been in many ways traced along the banks of the Nemasket River but Middleboro’s history extends further into a typical New England Village called Rock Village with a mill, church, school and a general store along a trail road track. The Mill at Rock Village was built in 1865 by Ichabod Atwood and later operated by his son Charles Neil Atwood, the sawmill was run by steam power. The mill's main products were wooden boxes and shooks put together at their destinations for cranberry growers and shoe factories. By products of the mill were sawdust and kindling. Sawdust was used for cow bedding and kindling for kitchen stoves. Most of the town of Middleboro at the time was a farming community. The Pratt Farm today is open every Saturday in the summer selling fresh produce from local farmers. The Soule Farm is also an operating farm in Middleboro teaching agriculture.
In 1912 the Rock Mill was destroyed by fire and rebuilt and sold to Levi O Atwood in 1913 and named Levi O. Atwood Box Co. The new enlarged mill was powered by electricity and employed over 90 people from the village. A waterwheel at Mill Pond in Rock Village, supplied a source of power for the Rock Mill. In 1932 Mr. Atwood sold the machinery and rented the buildings to the Rock Manufacturing Co. owned by Albert Charbonneau, later to become Cape Cod Fence, which eventually moved to Stoughton after the mill was destroyed by fire again in 1939.
(Eyewitness account of the fire that destroyed the Rock Mill)
“I will remember that fire as I was working for the town highway department at the time and was out with the big tank wagon working with Joe Fasulo and the steamroller, water binding a road, when Superintendent Paul Anderson come speeding to where we were working. He told me to take the load of water, which I had just filled at a hydrant, and hot foot it to the Rock, as the mill was on fire. When I got there the south end where the office was located, was pretty well gone and so we knew that there is no chance of saving the mill. I was assigned to a spot across the railroad tracks where a pumper from Central Fire Station was stationed to take care of any ember that might land on some the homes nearby. Luckily the wind kept in a direction, which was moving the flames town ward along the railroad tracks in a northerly direction. Though there were no other buildings lost it was considered a disaster, as many people lost their jobs.“
Information from Romaine's Town History of Middleboro and quote is from Middleboro Gazette. Rock Village Bed and Breakfast is on the State Historical Commission.