Welcome to another edition of Mill Monday! Each week I feature one of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania’s remaining water-powered grist mills. This week features the Lake Mill in Manor township, so called because of the large pond that provided water for the mill.
The first owner of a mill at this site was Henry Funk who owned a mill from 1771 to 1781 when it was sold to Daniel Lindner (Litner). Ownership passed to Daniel’s son John who sold it to Benjamin Herr in 1807. Herr tore down the old mill and built a new one in 1811. Benjamin died in 1825 and ownership passed to his daughter Elizabeth, who was married to Ephraim Hershey and the mill became known as the Hershey Mill. The mill was destroyed by a fire in 1830 and the present stone mill was built in 1831. The Hershey mill produced flour for the Union Troops during the Civil War. The mill produced a brand of flour called “Normal Flour” named after the Millersville Normal School. It was known as the “Lake Mill” as early as 1849 when the Manor Turnpike was extended from Millersville to the mill. The mill was given that name because of the large pond that stored water for the mill. The water source for the mill was a two-foot dam on the Little Conestoga Creek. Aa 250-foot headrace brought the water to the millpond. A 100-foot tailrace returned the water to the creek. The mill had a capacity of 75 barrels per day.
Ephraim Hershey died in 1869 and Isaac W. Groff purchased the mill. Groff fitted it with the latest machinery. It was partially destroyed by fire in 1882 and was restored in 1883. It was listed on the 1899 Atlas as Groff’s mill. Then ownership transferred to the Frantz family. The Frantzes added the granary to the side of the mill. Unfortunately, the Frantzes lost the mill in the great depression following the stock market crash of 1929.
There is a gap in the history between 1929 and the 1950s when it was a flour and feed mill run by Miller and Bushong of Rohrerstown. It was vacant in 1958 when Guy and Sally Starry purchased the property. The Starrys opened the Country Mill Restaurant in 1964. The restaurant was known as a high-end restaurant serving French fare. The Starry’s daughter, Anita, and her husband Henry Emrich, took over management of the restaurant sometime during the 60s. The lower-level dining area and wine cellar were flooded during Hurricane Agnes in 1972. Guy Starry died in 1978. In 1985, brothers Bob and Mark Green opened a new formal restaurant called “Country Mill 1770” in the upper part of the mill. In the following year they opened an informal restaurant called “The Millrace” in the lower part of the mill. It appears that both restaurants closed again in 1986 because there are no mentions of the restaurants after that date.
The mill stood vacant for years afterwards and fell into disrepair. It was listed for sale in 2003 and 2004. Finally, in 2012, Henry Emrich sold the mill to Don and Laura Dombach, who renovated the property and opened it as a wedding and event venue named “The Mill at Manor Falls”. See their website at https://themillatmanorfalls.com/
The mill is located at 380 Old Blue Rock Road, Millersville, PA.
More information about this mill can be found on this website at: Lake Mill