Historical Sites

Keene’s Sawmill

22 Myrtle St, Duxbury, MA 02332, USA

(781) 934-1100 ext. 5471

Owned By: Town of Duxbury

Keene’s Brook flows through this small historic site. In the 18th century, a sawmill produced boxes for cranberries here. Portions of the granite structure remain in place.


Josiah Keene acquired the land surrounding Keene’s Brook, in the Ashdod neighborhood of Duxbury, around 1700. He or one of his family members built a sawmill at this site. The dam created Keene’s Mill Pond, just upstream, on the other side of Keene Street. Lumber was produced here, but ultimately the water supply was not sufficient to sustain the mill for the long term. Shingles and barrel staves were produced here as well.

Prior to European contact, the Mattakeeset band of the Massachuseuk (or Massachusett) Native American tribe lived for thousands of years in the North River watershed. Their village included most of today’s Pembroke and Hanson as well as parts of Duxbury. Meanwhile the Patuxet band of the Wampanoag tribe inhabited the Jones River watershed, and the area now known as Kingston, Plymouth and Duxbury. This property lies within the upper portion of the South River watershed — right between those two territories. It’s possible that both tribes utilized the area.

Trail Description

This particular site doesn’t have trails, but just across the street you can explore the John Rubin Path, a 1-mile loop through the woods with views of the South River and its surrounding wetlands. For more information, see our listing for Camp Wing Conservation Area.

Habitats and Wildlife

Keene’s Brook finds its source in the wetlands between Congress, Taylor, Union and Keene streets. It flows through today’s Camp Wing property and into Keene’s Sawmill Pond. Just downstream of the sawmill site, it flows into the South River. The South River remains a narrow and mostly un-navigable stream until it enters Chandler Pond in Marshfield. From there it flows through Marshfield Center, winding through salt marshes all the way to Rexhame. Turning northward, it then flows for 3 miles between Humarock and the mainland to Fourth Cliff, where it joins the North River at its outlet to the sea.

22 Myrtle St, Duxbury, MA 02332, USA

Historic Site: Yes

Park: No

Beach: No

Boat Launch: No

Lifeguards: No

Size: 0.25 acre

Hours: Dawn to Dusk

Parking: Limited on-site parking.

Cost: Free

Trail Difficulty: Easy

Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash or under control at all times. Scoop the poop!

Boat Ramp: No

ADA Access: No

Scenic Views: Yes

Waterbody/Watershed: Keene's Brook (South River watershed)

Other Things to Do at This Site