We receive so many questions about our location; it would take a major portion of our day just to answer all of them. This page is intended to make your visit to Bynes’ Falls more enjoyable and to share with you our love for the history and beauty of Bynes’ Falls.
The dental office building originally was a gristmill. Thomas Manning was enjoined to build a sawmill “by the great falls on the Skungamaug when the town of Coventry shall have 16 families” according to the original deed dated 1726. It seems that Mr. Manning never got to build his mill but in the mid 1700’s a Mr. Wright did build the gristmill. Mr. Wright was a contemporary of Nathan Hale and Wright’s Mill road is across the street and up a little way from our office. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the area, The Nathan Hale Homestead is one mile up the street. The millstones at the front entrance of our office were used to grind grain in this very building. The present reception room was actually two floors before we restored it as a dental office in 1975. The upper floor contained the hopper that stored the grain, which was then fed into the grinding apparatus below. The grinding apparatus was donated to the town of Coventry and is displayed at the Strong Museum across from the Nathan Hale Homestead. Over the last two centuries the building has had several other uses.
Some of our senior patients remember when it was a dance hall in the early 1900’s. John Gardner purchased the property and built the stone castle in 1929. Mr. Gardner owned a power company in Chester, Massachusetts at the turn of the twentieth century. When he retired he had his stone house in Chester dismantled and brought to the present site. Mr. Gardner was noted for his eccentricity, which is as good as any other reason to build a castle. Mr. Gardner’s interest in hydroelectric power led him to develop a turbine system using a Bradway turbine once manufactured in Connecticut. Although no longer functional, the turbine is still housed in the concrete structure across the river. He sold electricity to his neighbors on South Street. Mr. Gardner’s grandson is a famous author, Steven Birmingham, whose fond memories of the house led him to write a book called The Towers of Love, which takes place on the property. He also wrote an article titled “My Grandfather’s Castle” which was published in The New Yorker Magazine. Upon Mr. Gardner’s death in the 1940’s, Ralph and Winona McLeod purchased the property.
Soon thereafter, the property became known as McLeod’s Mill. Ralph was employed by Pratt and Whitney Aircraft and was a great tinkerer. He restored the outside of the mill which was in very bad shape after 200 years. He also built the stone generating plant and twenty foot metal overshot waterwheel. The waterwheel was built in Hanover, Pennsylvania specifically for this project and was assembled on the site.
Both generating plants broke down prior to the purchase of the property in 1970 by Jack Bynes. Jack Bynes built a 100 kWh turbine in 1984 and ran it for ten years. Jack Bynes intends to restore or replace the waterwheel in the near future. As our guest at Bynes’ Falls we hope you will appreciate the natural beauty of the property and will treat it with the reverence it deserves.