Watertown will preserve limestone blocks from Remington Paper Mill

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WATERTOWN — The City Council has agreed to take possession of some limestone blocks from the old Remington Paper Mill along the Black River donated by National Grid.

National Grid intends to demolish the paper mill and a limestone wall that collapsed in March. The property, on Route 12E and County Route 190 and upstream from Glen Park, is owned by the power company.

A group of Black River enthusiasts, the Watertown Islands Project, intervened last month after learning National Grid planned to haul the limestone blocks to a landfill, asking the city to help preserve them.

The group got involved hoping to salvage the limestone blocks for possible reuse.

The power company requested that the city put together the arrangement for the donation in writing.

Council members unanimously approved a resolution to accept the gift from National Grid. One resident spoke at the council meeting urging the city to preserve the limestone blocks.

The blocks will be hauled to the city-owned Sewall’s Island for storage.

National Grid viewed the limestone wall as a liability, so it decided to demolish it.

The limestone was quarried from the Black River Valley and would be too expensive to buy today, members of the Watertown Islands Project have said.

The mill was completed Jan. 1, 1889. It produced wood pulp using power from eight water wheels. On March 1, 1891, while operations were paused for repairs, high water nearly destroyed the building — the roof collapsed, crushing two employees and killing one.

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