the mystery of the rotting old country house on dorlan mill road, downingtown

Reader submitted photo – more recent


Reader submitted photo from early 2000s when it was still lived in


I am completely out of my depth here. I do recall going past this abandoned farmhouse on Dorlan Mill Road.

I am told this house was owned by James and Elizabeth Dorlan who owned the neighboring paper mill. I think I took photos of this once upon a time myself but I can’t find them

I’m not sure what township this is in. It’s Downingtown and when you look at maps it looks like Upper Uwchlan. The address is 770 Dorlan Mill Road. Is it historically listed anywhere? Or is it just significant due to the family that owned the paper mill?

So this is near Struble Trail? It says so on Chesco Views.

Everyone keeps asking me what the deal is with this old house. People had hoped it would be preserved and become something like a nice little B&B or even a single-family home. But it’s just rotting isn’t it? I seem to recall a few years ago this location being in the paper. And people being upset. (See this old Marsh Creek Forum post)

So who knows what, including history of the area right there? Please leave a comment!

8 thoughts on “the mystery of the rotting old country house on dorlan mill road, downingtown

  1. Almost positive this house is in Upper Uwchlan Township. We moved here in 1980 (on Dowlin Forge Road) and the house was occupied at that time. Not sure exactly when it was abandoned. The Uwchlan Township Historical Commission book ‘The History of Dowlin Forge’, published in the mid-1990s, mentions James Dorlan as paper mill owner, as his wife Elizabeth was a Dowlin daughter. Shryock Brothers paper mill was still operating as such when my kids were in elementary school in the 1990s at Shamona Creek, as there were often recycling drives to send use paper and cardboard to the paper mill.

  2. My family and I lived in this house up until 2003 when the paper mill closed. My father had worked for Shylock brothers paper company and we had rented the home from the owners. My grandfather had worked there previously and my mother had lived in this house since she was 9 years old. The house was never registered as a historical building but should have been. It was a beautiful home when we lived in it, but sadly had been neglected and then abandoned since.

    • Do you have any photos of the house from when you lived in it? People have only seen photos of it as a wreck

  3. Is it possible to somehow put together a group of volunteers with the goal of eventual non profit to do some leg work and investigate ways to save these properties with historic or otherwise worthy significance? Maybe eventually become a non profit. Townships do not have the resources to work these things out. The targeted properties for saving do not have to all be historically designated. Maybe just interesting in one way or another. The goal of the group could be to help owners acquire funds or volunteers to stabilize properties, restore or help identify funding sources such as grants. Maybe create teams of volunteers teams to clean up neglected landscapes etc. I’m certain with the right people there could be something done.

    • No townships don’t have the resources but they also really don’t have the desire for as much preservation as most residents would like. And while what you’re saying has merit, Pennsylvania is a very preservation backwards state and there aren’t a lot of grants and other things as you find in other states in this country. So I don’t know if this would actually work. But the other thing is this developers can afford to pay more than somebody buying a house to restore it so people sell to developers

  4. My family lived in this house from 1965 until 2003. My grandfather worked in the paper mill, as did my father years later. I am in the process of trying to dig up photos of the home back when we lived there. It was such a beautiful home. I pass it everyday on my way to work and it hurts to see it in this way. The video posted below I didn’t even know existed until yesterday and watching it gutted me. I can’t believe this is what it has become.

Comments are closed.