Monday, August 24, 2009

The Ruins of Bridgetown Mill (c1704)

A window to another time.
The Mill being reclaimed by nature.

Let's take a peek through the old shutters.

A tree took root on the side of the old mill many years ago.
This is the side that catches my eye every time I pass.
You may remember last month I posted half of an old millstone that I found on the side of this mill, or the window view that framed the sky. Today I would like to share more of the old Bridgetown Mill ruins that I see from the road when I pass by. One day last month I decided to stop and have a closer look. I found out that the ruins are part of The Bridgetown Mill House Inn. The Old Mill House (c1791) is nearby and I'll post some pictures at another time.
I was fortunate enough to be the only person on the property when I took these pictures.
The following is the history of the mill taken from its website:
"In 1777 Joseph Jenks purchased The Bridgetown Mill. Joseph Jenks was a prominent family of Quakers in Bucks County. They traced their decent from Thomas Jenks (1699-1797), who, born in England, traveled with his parents to Pennsylvania in 1700. In 1731 he married and in 1734 established his 818-acre homestead in Middletown Township.
In the early 1700's Thomas Jenks built and operated a fulling mill, one of the first in Bucks County, specializing in homespun goods. The mill was formerly located along Core Creek, approximately one and one half miles northeast of the (Preston) Bridgetown Mill. His son Thomas (1738-1799) played an important role in local and national politics, serving in the Colonial Assembly (1773), Constitutional Convention (1789-1790), and the State Senate (1790-1799).
His son Joseph (1743-1820), who first purchased the Bridgetown Mill built in 1704 by Jonas Preston, is reported to have been a major agriculturist in Bucks County. Not only did he operate the Bridgetown Mill, he also operated his father's fulling mill and among other land holdings, assembled a 51-acre tract immediately east of Bridgetown, known today as Edgemont.
Joseph's son William (1766-1818) not only operated the gristmill, but also farmed the 51-acre tract. In 1791 Joseph built a handsome mansion house on the same tract as the Bridgetown Mill and made a gift of his homestead and mills to William and his wife Mary. The house was referred to as The Bridgetown Mill House.
Before William's death he bequeathed the homestead and mill to his sons Joseph (1792-1869) and Charles (1798-1823). William's wife Mary was to receive at least one half of the mill house, two horses, two cows, sufficient firewood, and an allowance of $600 per year. Charles is credited with the construction of the Federal style dwelling known as Edgemont, shortly after he inherited the 51-acre farm in 1820. Joseph continued to operate the Jenks mills until the mid-1840's. He is said to have amassed considerable wealth as a merchant miller.
The Bridgetown Mill and Mill House were sold in 1847 to Samuel Comfort, who operated the mill. In 1876 the property was sold to Benjamin Woodman and remained in the Woodman family until 1953. The mill continued to operate until 1939. In 1995, the Da Costa's purchased the mill and mill house along with 8.2 acres. The last of the 818-acre original homestead. After over two and a half years of restoration, The Bridgetown Mill House opened for the first time as an Inn in June of 1998. In April of 2003, we also added a full service restaurant, making it a true Country Inn.
As for the gristmill (c1704) it is only a structural shell of what it once was, but a complete restoration is planned in the future. As you enter The Bridgetown Mill House you will experience the grandeur of the past. We welcome you to share in the splendor
!"


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34 comments:

Asta said...

Hi James,

Beautiful pictures and very inteeresting story.
I hope this place will be restored, because it deserves it. It's very beautiful.

Best regards
Asta

cieldequimper said...

Interesting history and photos that are very much alive despite the mills being abandoned!

Thom said...

Great story and the pictures are outstanding :) Aloha

Sistertex said...

A lot of history in The Mill, it looks like a wonderful place. I absolutely *love* the first photo 'Window To Another Time'. Just fantastic.

A beautiful place.

subtorp77 said...

James, this is really a great old piece of history. Excellent shots and history lesson :) Thanks much!

Sylvia K said...

Marvelous shots, James, and I love the history, too! What a wonderful place! Would love to visit there myself!

Have a great week!

Sylvia

Postcards from Wildwood said...

Beautiful shots and interesting history. It would be great if the plans to restore it came off.
Janice.

Vogon Poet said...

Great post! I was amazed by the first image, a real ans still standing louvered window, still so common here but quite rare there.
Are these windows more common of what I think? By the way great title too...

Cezar and Léia said...

"The Mill being reclaimed by nature" is a fantastic theme! Well done!
God bless you!
Cezar

Ebie said...

Hi James, these are very clever shots, composition and angles!
My main blog is here.

Janie said...

Great shots. I love the angle of the last one. Amazing that it has lasted so long, but nature appears to be taking its toll.

Diane AZ said...

Really enjoyed this post. It is fascinating see the old mill being "reclaimed by nature" as you put it. My favorite is the peeking through the old shutters shot.

Lily Hydrangea said...

I love old stone buildings. interesting history too. your shots are great James! thanks for sharing.

Starnitesky said...

Interesting history and good shots.

Pam said...

There is something so beautiful about old vine covered windowless buildings that just haven't given up and fallen to the ground.

You captured its true beauty, James.
Bravo!

J Bar said...

Very interesting.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Jan said...

Wonderful shots.

Cheryl /Ashton said...

Nice shots. I really liked the final shot, it just stands out. Very interesting history and won't the renovations be interesting to watch as well as the end results. Love these types of pics.

Martha in PA said...

Fabulous (I need to find some new adjectives...) I especially love the perspective of the last one. I love angles! We need an adventure this week, quiet times last week, but I enjoyed it!

Carver said...

Wonderful shots and a very interesting post. I love the stone and also the way nature is reclaiming it.

Dusty Lens said...

Excellent detail shots! A person could spend hours, no days photographing this place.

Rajesh said...

Nice snaps and very interesting history.

Leora said...

Beautiful photos, wonderful post of the history. You got me interested in driving over there. I love the shot with the American flag.

ellievellie said...

I see you are not afraid of spiders! The peak through the old blinds and the infinity shot of window inside the window are just unique and fascinating!

Gaelyn said...

What an awesome old mill. Amazing how the plants are taking over inside and out. Great captures.

Denise said...

Hi James, that is a beautiful old mill that you have captured so well in these great photographs. Enjoyed all the info also, thanks!

Indrani said...

Beautiful pictures and loved reading the history.

Arija said...

Those pictures tell a wealth of tales of travellers and those who catered for them. It would be wonderful if the whole structure had survived the years, yet ar a ruin it is most picturesqueA wonderful post indeed.

Sally in WA said...

Great pics and story, too!

Kcalpesh said...

Interesting story and great pics :-)

Bonnie Bonsai said...

Salute Commander James!

This is perfect post with interesting history to go by.

Wonderful!

Ishtar said...

I LOVE window shots! These are lovely!

magicpolaroid said...

thanx for visit my blog, wow this is interesting story!
ciao, Luis

Carl said...

Thanks for the pictures of the Bridgetown Mill, They're wonderful. I came across these pictures researching my family history. Thomas Jenks is my g-g-g-g-g-g-grandfather. It is great to see the old mill standing. Thank you Again
Regards,
Carl