Going with the Flow
In the end, persistence, hard work, and community support paid off. So it's understandable that Dexter residents are proud of the pretty stream that now runs along the western edge of their village. And no one is more proud than Paul Cousins.
"It's exactly what it looked like originally," says Cousins as he walks along the banks of Mill Creek. "It's the natural channel."
Cousins has been the point man for the Mill Creek project since 1995. An energetic seventy-year-old with a full head of silver hair, he's been a fixture in Dexter since the 1960s, when he came to teach high school biology and environmental studies. After retiring from teaching in 1984, he ran Cousins Heritage Inn for twenty-one years. Along the way Cousins has served several terms on the Dexter Village Council and was a leader in the campaign to purchase and preserve Gordon Hall, judge Samuel Dexter's historic home.
When Dexter established his village in 1824, he picked out a fast-moving section of Mill Creek and built a dam to power a sawmill and later a gristmill. There's been a dam there ever since. It's been rebuilt or reinforced many times over the years.