The Upper Mill Grist Mill

ON THE NATIONAL HISTORIC REGISTER

Through the glass walls of the Waterwheel Café Bakery & Bar, you can view a restored 19th century water-powered grist mill known as the Upper Mill Grist Mill, Milford PA. The Upper Mill is a 24 foot working waterwheel, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Originally built in the early 1800’s, this example of American history is now in action open to the public. Watch water rush over the three-story high waterwheel, driving a series of shafts, gears, pulleys and belts that power the stones and grain milling equipment.

A self-guided tour enables you to understand this whole fascinating process – the grinding of grain by the power of falling water.

Brief History of the The Upper Mill

LISTED ON THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES

The Upper Mill was one of nine water powered mills operating in Milford in the early 1800’s, six of which were located here on the Sawkill Creek, which originally powered the Upper Mill.

This gristmill produced animal feed, cornmeal, wheat flour, rye flour, and the local specialty, buckwheat flour, for local consumption and commercial uses.

Across from the mill, a blacksmith shop offered horseshoeing, wheelwrighting, toolmaking and other services for farmers and others.

Wheelwrights made wooden wheels for carts, carriages, and wagons. The blacksmith helped by making the iron hoop tires for the rims.

Original Mill Destroyed in 1881

Dust, heat and friction created by revolving millstones made fire a particular danger in gristmills. In 1881, a fire destroyed the Upper Mill. It was rebuilt by 1882 with a newer technology, a turbine, providing the energy. This small horizontal waterwheel is still visible below the building. In 1922, the turbine was replaced by a 24 foot overshot waterwheel, which continues to turn seasonally.

Upper Mill Through History

The Upper Mill offers a unique glimpse of rural America more than 150 years ago. As the demand for grist milling declined, the waterpower was used for other manufacturing purposes such as metal working and wood manufacturing. The original Sawkill Creek water supply is no longer available due to the Mill’s dam removal in the 1950’s.

The Upper Mill Today

Today the mill operates with the limited water supply of the Vantine Brook, demonstrating how waterpower was harnessed to process raw materials into animal feed and flour.’
The Upper Mill District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.