One of my favorite places around here is Hershey’s Mill Rd. Such a cool place. So many great old farm houses, barns, and the road is an old country kind of road that meanders.
This weekend on Sunday we went up Hershey’s Mill to Greenhill Road. We had a car behind us so I couldn’t get a photo but it looked like the funky mill property (and I mean that in a good way not bad FYI) on the corner with the sort of “gate house” garage entrance into the property is being restored! It looks like it obviously changed hands. This is very exciting and I can’t wait to see what happens. I love historic preservation in action! It would be cool if someone like Jeff Devlin had a hand in the restoration, but I know nothing…but that is what I would do….
I do not know who purchased it but all of the overgrown everything is gone and it has been stripped down and you can actually see the house for the first time (or the first time for me.) Compass the real estate company said it was a barn on their old listing…but this was a mill…. the Hershey’s Mill. How cool.
I never knew who lived there. I remembered the last owner did not want East Goshen to mess with dam (now drained or breached or whatever the term is.) Sometimes it looks like East Goshen is working on it when you drive by, but mostly not. I guess it is supposed to end up some sort of nature preserve thing and they are dealing with the flooding?
Neil DeRiemer and his wife, Karen, used to look out their bedroom windows and see a waterfall cascading over a small dam just a few feet away.
Like their neighbors, they watched blue herons, white egrets, and black turtles wade in the seven-acre basin that made their East Goshen homes waterfront properties.
“It was like living in Longwood Gardens,” said DeRiemer, 70. “How many waterfalls are left in Chester County?”
Now Hershey’s Mill Dam is dry, its basin drained after it failed state safety inspections about nine years ago.
A local official called it the toughest decision he had had to make in three decades, one that East Goshen Township, Chester County, has been confronting for several years.
Tuesday night, the board of supervisors voted to breach the town’s two dams, both deemed potentially dangerous by the state – choosing financial considerations over the fervor of some residents who wanted to preserve what they consider landmarks of their town.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said years ago that the recreational dams, which have been part of the town in various iterations for centuries, could fail during a major rainfall. Township supervisors had to decide how to meet new state standards.
Supervisors told the 80 or so people gathered at the Goshen Fire Company banquet hall that they had to make the best decision for all the township’s 18,000 residents.
I have never read a comprehensive history of Hershey’s Mill, but that community for seniors with a golf course has a brief history of Hershey’s Mill on a website. This place seems like it was empty for a couple of years which is a shame because I think it’s magical.
I know whomever bought it had to clear overgrown trees and what once were shrubs to restore the place. That is common sense. I just hope the garages (the covered entrance) are going to be saved and restored too. It’s all part of the charm.
It’s nice to know that it is not getting torn down. I wonder if the mill wheel is still there? According to the Mill Pictures website someone named Dean Piece in 2008 wrote:
“*Update: Hershey Mill was converted in the early 1960’s by a wealthy Californian. Lucille Ball came to one of the parties he held when the mill was newly renovated. He died soon after the renovation – enroute back to California. The Estate was in probate for years to figure out the ownership. The original wooden wheel was removed and reportedly put in pieces under the brick floor on the ground floor. The three car garage contained chauffeur’s quarters and two 1961 Imperials. The Paddock Pool was one of the first in-ground pools in the area.“
So it was owned once upon a time by a wealthy Californian? And Lucille Ball coming here to a party makes sense with something else a neighbor who is a lifetime resident told me:
“When I was a little girl, Grace Kelly and her family would come out from the city to spend time at the mill house as their country home! They vacationed in the summer in Ocean City, NJ but spent many days and weekends at Hershey’s Mill.“
Anyway…if anyone has history to share, I am all ears. I love this place and I hope it becomes a happy and vibrant home (with a garden) once again. This place is a local treasure.
I am also delighted to have something fun to write about versus the past three months.
Here is hoping East Goshen actually finishes the park or whatever they are supposed to create.
Thanks for stopping by.