Highland-Rohrer Mill

The first mill was a small wooden mill built by Jacob Denlinger during the early days of Lancaster County’s formation. In 1834, Henry Rohrer purchased the mill from the Denlinger family. At this time, the mill was known as the “Highland Mill”. Henry’s son, Christian, took over the business in 1852 and replaced the frame mill with a new brick grist and sawmill. Power was provided via a 16-foot overshot wheel situated inside the west end of the building to shield it from the elements. The mill was enlarged at the east end of the building in 1879. In 1917, Western Electric installed electrical generation equipment in the mill. The generator was run by waterpower and supplied light and power to the mill and surrounding buildings. Electricity was not available yet from public generation plants to these rural areas.

Christian Rohrer’s two sons, John C. and Frank H. took over the business in 1918 and operated under the name “Rohrer Brothers”. The mill produced 10-13,000 bushels per year during its peak in the 1930s. The Rohrer brothers replace the wooden waterwheel with a new steel wheel that required less maintenance. A 15 HP diesel engine was installed to augment the waterpower. The diesel engine powered a hammermill and could be put into service to power the grind stones if not enough water was available to run the water wheel. Another interesting feature was a cable system that brought power from the mill up to the barn to run the threshing machine. The cable ran from the mill to a gear tower where the line made a 90 degree turn to continue to the barn. This tower can still be seen on the mill property.

Builtc1852
Structure3.5 Story Brick
Water SourceCalamus Run
TownshipParadise
TypeGrist
Headrace1300 feet
Tailrace100 feet
Dam Height8 feet
PowerOvershot Wheel
Capacity48 bbl / day

John Rohrer’s daughter, Esther and her husband Christian Landis became the owner/operators in 1940. The Landises continued to produce whole wheat flour. The mill produced 2000 bushels of stone ground wheat in 1983. The sawmill ceased operations in 1967 because it could no longer compete with modern equipment. Christian and Esther’s son James assumed operations in the 1980s. The output of the mill declined as demand for its products decreased. The mill ceased operations for good in 2006 when a fire destroyed a large part of the mill. The building was rebuilt but the mill was not put back into business. In 2021, the farm and mill are owned by James’ son Keith Landis. The mill is being used as a workshop.

The mill is located at 271 Rohrer Mill Road, Paradise, PA.