Lou's Place in Cyberspace
CASTLE VALLEY MILL
The entrance to the mill is thru a large double door. A large split door on the right, (as entering) with a smaller full door section on the left. With both doors open the 63"X 82" passage allows large bulky items, and sacks of grain easy entry. The upper part of the right door can be opened for ventilation with the bottom part remaining closed if necessary, Dutch style.
On entering the mill, to the left of the entrance is the Office and further in, a large grain bin for accepting the sacks of grain being delivered to the Mill. From this receiving bin, a chute through the floor permitted the grain to flow into the Left (of entrance) Front Elevator which lifted the grain up to the third floor for distribution and processing.
First floor view showing receiving grain bin next to elevator chutes which brought grain to third floor. This view towards rear from office door.
View from rear looking towards front door. Grain receiving bin is to right of the Left Front Elevator legs. Office entrance is on right center right of illustration.
On the opposite side of the room, a second grain elevator the Right Front Elevator was available for accepting another type of grain, to be raised to the third floor. From the layout, it appears course grain was processed on the right and fine grain, wheat, buckwheat etc. was processed on the left (of entrance).
Millstones with different cutting patterns (dressing) were required for different type grain and fineness, and required different processing machinery.
Mills often were divided in half with processing machinery on each side, allowing for two grain processing. Farmers also needed coarse grain processed for livestock feed.
The Mill, as typical, has a hoist above the front door at roof level. In earlier times the product to be processed was hoisted to the top floor, but the later addition of elevators minimized the necessity of the hoist. Originally, the first mill processed Bitternut fruit for lamp oil, and was called an "Oil Mill"
Since most of the first floor has been replaced, and the Hurst Frame (power gearing) is missing from the basement, it cannot be established exactly where the original millstones were positioned on the floor.
Presently there is a stone in place but this was a much later modification by Henry Fischer after the floor had been repaired. It is not driven by what would have been a standard drive at the time the mill was constructed, but was a contrivance of Henry Fischer. (See Annex)
At the time of my visits to the mill site, the first floor was a confusion of all types of milling items and miscellaneous parts strewn about, making it almost impossible to view the floor space.
The mill office is located to the left of the entrance door. It once had an iron stove for heat, and also book shelves. The stove is missing. The original chimney for the stove was removed when Henry Fischer started restoring the mill in 1950.
On the office walls are stenciled several early names and dates, from 1817 and 1827, put there by persons unknown. Perhaps they were mill workers or customers.
Several original tin barrel stencils are still hanging above the office door, one bearing the name "Owen Stover", a name identified with other Stover’s in the area who also owned several mills in eastern Pennsylvania.
Initials painted on Office walls, 1817, 1823.
Office door and tin stencils.
In the center of the Mill, beyond the entrance is a large trap door opening to the second floor. In the right rear right of the building is a second smaller trap door to the second floor. It may have been used to remove bags of collected dust from the second floor where a dust collection area was located.
Passing through the first floor area are various ducts or chutes called "elevator leggings", which were used to direct grain between floors of the mill.
On the right wall (north wall) are staircases leading to the second floor and basement. Near the staircase is a door leading to the added addition on the north side called the "Annex." Earlier, before the addition was added, this doorway was a window.
View of first floor looking northwest. In lower bottom corner is the Office. On each side of the large opening near center, are the Right and Left grain elevator legs. Viewing the floor joists it appears a modification was made near the front of the structure. There may have been a staircase in that location and later moved to the north wall. In the rear top corner is the small trap door. In the center rear area are six sets of elevator legs and the Central Rear elevator legs. Light colored objects are various chutes passing through from the second floor. All of these chutes bottoms have been removed, leaving their destinations unknown.
First floor ceiling chutes.
View looking south east. Notice rear elevator groups and miscellaneous chutes passing through the floor joists. Also shown is a shaft journal through which once passed the Main Drive Shaft to the third floor. The rear extension to the mill, added about 1879, is indicated by the large transverse cross beam running north /south (diagonal). In the lower corner is a small trap door to the second floor through which collected dust and debris was removed from the second floor.
North wall showing the door to the "Annex". This doorway was a window before addition was added about 1879. Staircase’s are to second floor and basement. Also shown are the elevator "legs" for the Right Grain elevator and a main supporting timber.
There are three windows on the south, and rear (west) walls, and two on the front (east), and north walls. Each window was tapered outward from the exterior to the interior allowing more available light to enter the mill.
Tapered window frames on first floor. Since walls are 20" thick, the taper allows more light to enter. This is the front office window.
View of first floor showing (Left to right), Central Rear elevator boot and legs, Staircases, "Annex" door, grain bin for receiving grain and elevator shafts or "legs" for Left and Right front elevators.
The lower part or elevator "boot" of the Rear Central elevator, its "legs", and the legs or chutes of the Left and Right front main elevator’s are still intact. The Left and Right front elevator boots are located below floor level in the basement. The Right Elevator boot is missing parts. The two front elevators are original and were installed prior to the mill being enlarged in 1879. All twelve of the Rear Elevator legs have been removed. (See Elevators section)
Central and six Rear elevators. Central Elevator boot is in foreground.
Note in the illustration above the two combined chutes above the Rear Central elevator boot. This chute combined grain from two bins located above on the second floor. Each chute has a shut off slide for grain control. The lower part of the chute has been cut off, but it seems it likely "sprouted" (directed grain) into a millstone or roller mill. The ground grain was then directed into the Central Rear Elevator boot and carried to the third floor for further processing. (See Central Rear elevator section)
Stretching off to the right directly below the combined chute is a flat wide board with a hole bored through it. On the opposite of the board it appears something revolved around the hole from etched marks on the board. Its use is unknown. It may have been half of a bracket to hold a wooden roller used as a roller pulley.
Northwest view of the rear elevator groups. Note the large thick Oak shaft journal right of photo center, top. Note that directly below the journal is a hole in the floor. A three inch Drive Shaft went from the drive mechanism in the basement through the first and second floors to the third floor Power Frame. (See Power Frame)
Drive Shaft journal mounted on first floor joists.
View of Drive Shaft passing through first floor. There are parts missing from the shaft journal on the ceiling joists. What is shown is what exists. The lower shaft cover on the floor is not present, but likely was similar to what is illustrated
Photo of double chute coming from Double Bin located on second floor. Note sliding cut-offs in each chute for grain control. Also note large flat board with hole stretching across the elevator legs. Its use is unknown at this time. (See below)
Opposite side of board with hole mounted on elevator legs. Note part of Drive Shaft journal in upper right of photo.
View of Drive Shaft journal bolted to floor joists. Seeping grease shows it was well lubricated.
Holes in flooring where Rear Elevator leg’s once passed to basement. These leg chutes were removed when the mill race flooring in basement was replaced.
View of various grain chute connectors passing from second floor to first. These chutes directed product to mill stones, then later roller mills or other processes, on the first floor. All the bottom sections of these chutes have been removed, leaving only the flat connector bracket. By noting the fading from the daylight over the years, bleaching the wood, one can see in which direction the chute was once directed.
Another view of chute connectors mounted to joists, in rear of first floor.
Some chutes connectors have also been removed, leaving only holes in the flooring above
The floor joists for second floor are imbedded into the stone wall. When Henry Fischer purchased the mill, these joists had to be jacked back into position by 50 ton hydraulic jacks and reset into wall pockets due to sagging.
Rear central supporting timber, bearing the name of James Reed. James and Samuel Reed purchased the mill in 1852. The partnership dissolved in 1861, leaving James as the proprietor.
Sometime after 1879, when the mill was expanded, Roller mills for processing flour were installed. There are two roller mills on the first floor and may be the original rollers mills used at the mill.
In a letter written by Emma Reed, daughter of James Reed, she reminisces about the history of the mill. She states she recalls her father putting in the roller mills after the mill expansion.
Emma wrote: "I think there were also several feed stones, a large wooden waterwheel furnished power. I can’t tell the order just when he did all the building. The sawmill and barn were built before I remember"
"I remember when he blasted rocks to make a fit for the two iron waterwheels and then later took them out and fit one large wheel in their place. Also when he built that back wall in the creek with cement in 1879 and added three new floors on that end enlarging the space and later installed the roller process for flour"
Roller mill on first floor mfg. by the D. W. Allis Company, Milwaukee Wis. It is not certain where it was located on the floor. See Roller Mill description below.
Another, smaller, Roller Mill located on the first floor. This is also by the Allis Company.
As stated by Emma James in her letter, the mill had "several" stones for grinding feed or "Feed Stones" then later the Roller Mills were added when the mill was expanded.
From the appearance of the mills and the name of the manufacturer, it appears these mill date from the 1880’s.
Illustrations from the 1888 Edw. P Allis Company catalogue.