The goal of the Water Trail is to attract visitors to the Charles and create an educational and lasting experience that would in turn create environmental stewards of the river. There are currently 5 public launch sites along the Water Trail of which several are adjacent to the many acres of Dedham’s parks and conservation lands.The following are significant historic and ecological points on the Dedham Water Trail. Each point of interest is marked with a corresponding trail signs along the river.
1. Dolan Center Launch, 269 Common Street
Town of Dedham’s public canoe and kayak launch connects to the walking trails at Whitcomb Woods, NewBridge on the Charles and Wilson Mountain. August 10, 2013 marked the Grand Opening of the Dolan Recreation Center canoe launch. This launch was generously constructed by the Office of Fishing and Boating. Visitors are invited to park and launch their canoes or kayaks from this public site. The Town of Dedham has partnered with L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery school to offer at this site introductory classes in Stand Up Paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing. Visit www.llbean.com/dedham for more information. Through the generosity of L.L. Bean the Town now has 4 kayaks and 2 canoes that it rents out on weekends. Please contact the Town of Dedham Recreation Department to reserve a rental at 781-751-9250.
2. Riverdale Castle at Noble & Greenough School
Private school dates from 1888 when the first building, the Castle was built. Noble & Greenough has an active crew team that races on the Charles.
3. Bridge Street Pass
Site of the first cart bridge erected over the Charles River in 1644.
4. Town Landing Launch
Originally called Bullard’s Landing Place, Town Landing is a short walk from Dedham Square, where you can explore a vital and thriving downtown, full of great shops and restaurants with casual dining. Walkable and charming, a visit to Dedham Square by canoe or kayak is a unique feature of the water trail, one not to be missed!
5. Powder House
The Old Powder House was built in 1766 and stored military supplies through the period of the American Revolution and into the 1840s.
6. Dedham Boat Club
This was the former site of the Dedham Boat Club, which existed from 1874 until 1935.
7. The Keye
This was the landing place of the first settlers of the Dedham Plantation in 1636.
8. Mother Brook Launch
Created in 1637, Mother Brook, also known as Mill Creek, is believed to be the first man-made canal in the United States and the course for the first water driven, broad powered loom in the world. It was used as a swimming beach from the late 1800s to the 1940s. WARNING: Use Caution around the dam.
9. Moseley’s on the Charles
Built in 1905, one of the oldest surviving dance halls in the country where boaters would anchor in the evenings and listen to live music.
10. Old Irish Alehouse
The original building as it stands today was home to three different canoe clubs throughout the early to mid-1900s. This restaurant has been serving local patrons for over 100 years.
11. Marie Louise Kehoe Park
A recreational hub of the river in the early 1900s, Riverdale had several boathouses, canoe clubs, liveries for canoe rentals and a carousel with a steam organ known as a calliope. Until World War Two, hundreds of spectators would line the river to watch weekend boating competitions between area boat clubs.
12. Havey Beach
This beach was a popular spot for summer fun close to a half century ago. The original boathouse, now owned by DCR is still standing and has been renovated for use.
13. Long Ditch Mouth
Long Ditch was dug in 1653 by early Dedham settlers to allow greater cultivation of hay. The water flow from the ditch resulted in a natural peninsula, creating Dedham Island (Riverdale). The ditch helps to alleviate flooding and improves meadow grasslands.
14. Long Ditch
Use Caution, portage may be necessary at low water levels.
15. Needham Street Launch
This public launch connects the Dedham’s conservation land with walking trails located at Newton’s Cutler Park and Dedham’s Pine Island Reserve.
16. NewBridge on the Charles Tie-up
The tie-up at NewBridge on the Charles is expected to be complete and ready for use by the spring of 2013.