Stonehill College Students Dig in and Help
On one of the hottest and most humid days in early September, 2016, students from Stonehill College in Easton worked at the L.A. Foster Wildlife Refuge on Route 140 in Norton. Three groups worked with LPS board members on the project. One team helped clear and existing trail, another team cut through brush and trees to create a new trail and two students refreshed the LPS sign on Taunton Avenue. Many thanks to a great group of volunteers.
The L.A. Foster Wildlife Refuge
A walk in the L.A. Foster Wildlife Refuge is a walk back into history. The land, donated by Marjorie and
Barbara Foster, can be reached from both sides of Taunton Ave. (Route 140) at the Wading River
Bridge. The path to the east of the bridge leads into woodlands along the river and eventually joins the
Woodward Forest Land, also owned by the LPS ofNorton. The Foster Refuge is the site of the former
Crocker Brothers Copper Works.
To the west the path leads to ruins of copper works. Still visible are a canal that carried water from the
Wading River to the pond and remnants of the old industrial site. The Crocker Brothers Copper Works rivaled the Revere Copper Works in Canton and in the early days produced a rolled copper that was used to plate ship bottoms. Copper prevented shipworms and barnacle build-up, keeping the hulls of the ships clean and reducing the time needed for servicing.
Eventually in the 19th century the Norton copperworks gained fame as the source of planchets or round metal disks used for the minting of the large cent. Even today you can find the occasional old
penny blank in the woods. Copper came first from England as ballast on ships, and then from Chile. By1850 most of the workers at the mill were immigrants skilled in metal refining.
There is a path in from a small parking area north of the bridge over the Wading River on Route 140. The area is clearly
marked with signs and the trails are open to the public. Occasionally the entrance is over-grown with cat or green briar (Smilax sp.). Persevere and it will open onto an easily managed trail.
It eventually leads to the old pond that supplied the copper works with water, and a canal that transported water from the Wading River to the pond. This is a lovely walk following the Wading River through mixed forest and wetland