Chocolate Mill Overlook is a park located on the
banks of the Blackstone River in Central Falls,
Rhode Island that celebrates one of North America's
earliest water-powered chocolate mills. Founded
roughly a decade before Slater Mill, the William
Wheat Chocolate Mill provided its products to not
only nearby citizens but also to the military and
mariners as medicinal sustenance. As part of the
industrial base of Pawtucket Falls, the mill's
mechanics and skilled labor set the foundation for
Samuel Slater's mill in 1790.
Unfortunately, the mill was damaged by a storm in
1804 and was demolished in the ensuing decades.
However, the dam built for the mill is still extant
in the Blackstone River, as is the original
foundation of the mill. While there is hope to one
day rebuild the mill and create a working chocolate
factory/museum on its original site, for now the
BVTC is celebrating the mill by creating the
Chocolate Mill Overlook on land that sits proximate
to the mill.
The Chocolate Mill Overlook provides waterfront
access to this section of the Blackstone River,
including a stone stairway that will allow
kayak/canoe access. It also includes a rain garden
to filter street water run-off, re-situates a
veteran's memorial to make it more accessible, and
creates bus and car parking for school tours and
veterans' visits. Additionally, the project
re-landscaped the site to highlight the state's
largest champion Cottonwood tree and contains four
cherry trees that were part of the centennial
celebration of Japan's gift of cherry trees to
various US cities.
The Japanese consul was an honored guest as part
of the unveiling celebration on May 19th, 2012.