Welcome to Mill Monday! It’s time to feature another one of Lancaster County Pennsylvania’s water-powered grist mills. Today we travel to the northern part of the County to the Bowmansville Mill in Brecknock Township. The Bowmansville mill is well preserved and is one of the few mills in Lancaster County that are still in operating condition.
In 1737, almost forty years before the American Revolution, Christian Good built a log mill and dwelling house along the Muddy Creek in what would become Brecknock Township. The home also served as a Mennonite Meeting house. Ownership passed to his son Peter in 1751. Peter’s wife assumed the ownership after Peter died in 1757. The mill passed to a second Christian Good in 1769, and then to Hans (John) Good from 1772 to 1790. John Good erected the second mill around 1780, replacing the earlier mill. By 1793 John had died and his wife became the owner. Then from 1799 to 1823 the tax list shows a second John Good as the owner. John Good operated the mill for the next twenty years or so.
In 1846, Henry Von Nieda purchased the property. After a fire damaged the mill in 1850, Henry built a third mill. That mill is the one that still stands today. He added a sawmill in 1860. Henry Von Nieda ran the mill until he died in 1883. The mill then passed to Henry’s son, John Adam Von Nieda who operated the mill until 1912. John replaced the stones with rollers in 1888. John unfortunately was killed at the mill when his clothing got caught in the shaft. John’s son, Henry Franklin Von Nieda took over his father’s business and ran the mill until around 1945 when the mill closed due to lack of demand.
The mill sat idle until 1967 when it was bought by Stewart Keen. Keen restored the mill to its original operating state. The Bowmansville Roller Mill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. Ron and Nancy Funk bought the property in 2004. Complete information including a video may be found on the Historic Preservation Trust website at the following link: https://hptrust.org/hidden-treasures-bowmansville-roller-mill/
The mill is located at 2 Voneida Street, Narvon, PA.
Information and photographs of this mill may be found on this website at https://donaldkautz.com/mills/bowmansville-roller-mill/