This image of Mill Pond looks from the pond’s east side across to the west side and to houses on King Street. The dam is to the right. All of the houses you see here are still standing. The house in the background with the cupola on the roof is today the Linden Tree Inn.
Mill Pond was built in 1702 by John Pool, the second settler of Sandy Bay. In 1701, he acquired the rights to build a grist mill here. To power the mill, he constructed a dam across the stream, which was then called Davison’s Run and is now called Mill Brook. Most accounts say he also built a saw mill there, from which he supplied lumber used to build Long Wharf in Boston in 1710.
As I’ve noted here before, it is hard to imagine today that peaceful, bucolic Millbrook Meadow was long a center of industry in Rockport. In 1871, a large, steam-powered factory was built here. Originally it housed the American Hide Seat Company. In 1874, the factory was transferred to William N. Manning and became the Manning Organ Company, a manufacturer of “parlor cabinet, church cabinet, and parlor orchestral organs.” The organ company closed in 1876 and the factory went on to be occupied by a series of other businesses, including a glue company and the isinglass company owned by L.M. Haskins. The factory remained there until July 1, 1932, when it was destroyed by fire.
From at least 1850 until as late as 1920, the pond was also used to harvest ice. For many years, two ice houses stood on opposite sides of the pond. In fact, one would have been at almost the exact spot from which the postcard picture was taken (on the east side of the pond, near Mill Lane).
The Rockport Millbrook Meadow Conservancy has a brief history of the pond and meadow. This 2010 civil engineering report provides a detailed history of the Millbrook Meadow area, including the pond and the various buildings constructed here over the years.
The postcard was mailed in 1913. It has no other information identifying its date or publisher.