The Upper and Lower mills, frequently called New England Village, had their beginnings in 1824 when William Hovey of Worcester built a dam to supply water for the Blackstone Canal, which opened in 1828.
Lower Mill, North Grafton
The Lower mill was developed in 1831 by Smith and Pratt, who manufactured cotton goods. In 1878, the firm was sold to Mr. Crocker, who started grinding emery, which came from Turkey as ship's ballast. It continues to operate as the Washington Mills Co., manufacturing abrasives. They took over the Upper mill in 1949.
Farnumsville, South Grafton
In 1827, Peter Farnum and his son built a stone mill 74 feet by 30 feet, four stories high with a 40-foot-by-30-foot wooden ell of two stories for the manufacture of woolens. The company was known as the Grafton Manufacturing Co.
Fisherville, South Grafton
The Fisherville mills were established about 1829 by Timothy McNamara. Initially a joint venture with the Blackstone Canal Company, a dam was built to supply water to the canal and for manufacturing.
Centerville, site of A.E. Burgess Leather Company, Grafton
The earliest mill site in Grafton is at Centerville, on the Quinsigamond River where it crosses Brigham Hill Road. It was, at first, a grist mill, then a sawmill, a blacksmith shop, and a cotton mill. The cotton mill was called the Quaker Mill and produced light goods known as Quaker sheeting. The mill burned in 1890. This site also produced the first electricity in Grafton. Other owners operated a "shoddy," or waste mill, here.