historic tragedy on dorlan mill road today.

This old house in 2020

Once upon a time there was a neglected farmhouse on Dorlan Mill Road. Above is a photo I took in 2020. I wrote about it then too.

Today was the last day standing in Chester County for this once beautiful farmhouse. Another historic structure bites the dust and this farmhouse had a slow decline and was it initially demolition by neglect?

You have to wonder why so many of these beautiful old houses have to go bye bye around here? What ugliness will replace this?

This morning 2/6/23
This afternoon 2/6/23

17 thoughts on “historic tragedy on dorlan mill road today.

  1. The Shryocks had submitted development plans for the whole property – townhouses – but the state and U.U. twp kept rejecting them because it’s in the flood plain – obviously. They kept blocking the extension of Struble Trail across the property until their development was approved. Finally last year, the state and Natural Lands Trust bought half the parcel (the half containing the house) that would allow access from Struble to Marsh Creek State Park, and continuation of the Trail further up Brandywine Creek. The house was condemned years ago, was not salvageable (the Trust had it inspected), and was determined by engineers to be a hazard to passersby. That hillside parcel will now contain the trail. Sad, but inevitable after the Shryocks abandoned it. Hopefully a plaque will mark where it used to be.

    • But thank you to the OP for marking the end of this era. The Shryocks actually owned the place from 1917, at least, according to the county property records.

  2. Thank you for the post. Very sad. The preservation network looked into it (at my request) but they had no represented in that township, West Brandywine.
    The house was open in the 1930s on Chester County Day and it still had its original wallpaper. This is an excerpt from my book: Dorlan’s paper mill was among the area’s first, founded in 1833, and its commercial activity was one reason it became a stop on the railroad.

    In 1833, Dorlan, , at the age of 25, was equally ambitious as new owner of the former Davis & Cooper Mill where he had served as an apprentice from the age of 14. He purchased the mill and thirty-seven acres at a time of depressed markets. Eventually he owned more than 200 hundred acres, and operated the mill for nearly fifty years.

    Dorlan was able to sustain his business for decades in part because of his best-known product – waterproof wallpaper – reportedly made from imported linen. Dorlan obtained a patent for it in 1872, anticipating the public’s need for a product that would prevent moisture from seeping through plaster walls. By 1883, Dorlan was turning out more than 1,500 pounds of it each day, according to a business directory of top paper producers “in the world.”

  3. That’s James R. Dorlan. He also built a large icehouse and ice pond up the road. When he build it in 1909, people downstream in Downingtown and other places were afraid of another Johnstown-like flood.’

    One newspaper in February 1909 reported that an “immense dam was already being expanded along Marsh Creek and would soon be “the largest along the stream.” Another notice described it as a “big dam above the houses” but otherwise no specific location is found in surviving notices other than the ice pond was located north of mill along the East Branch.  

    Dorlan was probably was the nation’s wealthiest papermakers and build the house, now demolished, in the early 1800s

  4. I am absolutely heartbroken by this. I contributed the photo on the article written 2 years ago. This was my families home from 1965-2003. Half my life was spent here, and now it’s just gone. I won’t ever get over it.

      • Thank you. It’s been an emotional few days. Even when you know it’s happening, it doesn’t make it any easier. 💔

      • I can’t even imagine! I know how I feel when it’s a house that I know, but I can’t imagine if it was the house I grew up in. If you have other photos of the house when it was your home message them to me via the blog’s Facebook page and I will share so we remember what once was

      • I plan to dig through old photos and make an album at some point, so I’ll send some over when I do. Just might be a little while, as silly as it sounds, it’s just too emotional right now. 😢

    • It was a beautiful home. All the old pretty features. My sister and I went there and took pics. I’d love to see pics of the inside when it was a happy home. It’s so sad it couldn’t be saved.

  5. Wait….does this mean that the Struble Trail will be connected to Marsh Creek State Park? If so, that’s awesome. When will this happen?
    I don’t understand why anyone would miss that old house.

    • I assume based on your candor that you hadn’t read my previous comments, but this was my families home for decades. Please forgive me that I don’t share in your sentiment of excitement over this, and I will miss that old house extensively. With that said access to the state park was always available, there really was no urgent need to desecrate a historic building to make it more accessible, but I would guess it’ll be completed within the year.

      • I am sorry people don’t understand that this house was someone’s home as well as a historic asset

      • I should be used to it by now, but it definitely stings every time.

  6. Unless there is a secret path I don’t know about, getting from Struble to Marsh Creek required going up Dorlan Mill – not really safe for pedestrians – or trespassing. A nice path would be good.
    Sure it was once someone’s house. I have lived in houses before, and moved on. I don’t think getting attached to real estate is good.

    • You’re being a total tool. They could have extended the trail without tearing down an old house . That happens to be the truth. Maybe you are a transient person and don’t give a crap about wherever it is you live or used to live but that’s not the case with a lot of people. And you can be respectful of the people that used to call this place home.

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