Mill Monday 18 – Blue Rock

Welcome to Mill Monday! It’s time to feature another one of Lancaster County Pennsylvania’s water-powered grist mills. This week features the Blue Rock Mill in Manor township also known as Witmer’s Mill. The mill is the current home of the Blue Rock Heritage Center.

The first mill on this site was a 1.5 story wooden chopping mill built by Jacob Wittmer (Witmer) in about 1814.  In 1832 Jacob H. Witmer built the present 2.5 story limestone mill. Witmer owned the mill until his death in the late 1800s. Hiram Young leased the mill from Jacob H. Witmer in 1886. The mill was offered for sale by auction on October 2, 1888, by J. L. Witmer, executor. The sale bill claimed the mill ran on both steam and waterpower. Hiram S. Young acquired the mill and operated it until 1899.

The water source was a four-foot dam on Witmer’s Run. Water was directed to the mill along a 1,300-foot headrace. The mill was powered by an overshot wheel and the water returned to the creek by way of a twenty-five-foot tailrace. The mill’s capacity was about eight bushels per day.

On February 20, 1902, a spark from a passing locomotive fell on the roof of the mill igniting a fire. The mill was destroyed along with a few other nearby buildings. The neighborhood was aroused by the blowing of the locomotive whistle. Hiram Young was the owner at the time of the fire.

Samuel Young became the operator after the mill was rebuilt in 1902. B. K. Snyder purchased the mill in 1915 and operated it until 1931. Since that time the mill was used for various purposes including as a turkey barn at one point. The mill was refurbished in 2006 and is now the headquarters of the Blue Rock Heritage Center.

The Blue Rock Heritage Center was formed to promote and conserve the rich history of the Lower Susquehanna River Valley through education, preservation, and restoration; and to increase public awareness of its archeological and historical resources, features and buildings, and their unique inter-relationship with and access to the local ecological systems.


This mill is located at 2251 River Road, Washington Boro, PA.

More information about this mill can be found on this website here: Blue Rock Mill