Mills of Lancaster County

The grist mills of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania were once the hubs of their local communities. People came to the local mill not only to get their corn and wheat ground, but also to catch up on the local news. In many cases, the mill served as the local post office. At one time there was a mill for every 2 1⁄2 square miles. Now there are less than one hundred still standing.

This book serves as a record of those mills, relating some of the stories of the men and women who worked the mills. Organized by watershed, the book contains the full catalog of mills past and present with details and timelines. As poet, Sarah Doudney wrote, “The mill will never, never grind with the water that is past.” Yet, we can look back and see the role that those old mills played in the history of the county.

The book begins with a description of water-powered milling in general, and describes the machinery that was employed in the process before electricity became readily available. The next section provides a narrative description of each of the mills that still exist in some form including those sites where a covered bridge that was associated with a mill still exists even though the mill is gone. The last section contains a catalog of all of the Lancaster County mill sites with the details that are known about each mill. The details include the latitude/longitude coordinates of each of the sites. Both the narrative section and the catalog are organized by watershed. Finally, there is an index of names where, if you know the name of a miller, you can look them up to see which mill they owned and when they were the owner.

Winner of the 2024 C. Emlen Urban Preservation Publication Award presented by the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County.

“There is something magical about old mills. Donald Kautz has captured much of that magic, in words and especially in vivid color photos, in his new book.”

Jack Brubaker, LNP November 19, 2023

“If you live anywhere close to Lancaster County, this book should be in your backseat.”

Chuck Ketchie, Old Mill News, Winter 2024

Click below to view a 2-minute trailer that provides an overview of the book’s content.

PublisherMasthof Press
Dimensions8.5 (w) x 11 (h)

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Or if you prefer, send a check for $42.10 per book to the address below. Be sure to include your delivery address.

Donald Kautz
170 Hostetter Lane
Lancaster, PA 17602