Stover Mill open house
Sunday, September 1st — 1:00pm to 5:00pm
Discover the Historic Stover Mill in Erwinna, PA
Admission and Parking are Free
Come to Erwinna, PA, on Sunday, September 1, between 1:00pm and 5:00pm when the Tinicum Civic Association holds a free Open House at the historic Stover Mill. Guides will be on hand to describe the building and former milling operations. Millers Glenn Blakely and Dana Osterman recently completed the three-year restoration of the Thompson-Neely Mill in Washington Crossing Park. Dana and Glenn currently Mill corn and wheat at that authentic 1830’s Mill. They will be glad to share their stories with you while demonstrating milling operations and answering questions. Historic preservation specialist, Kathryn Auerbach, who led the national award-winning Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) program at Bucks County Community College, is a special guest this year.
The 187-year old Stover Mill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is noteworthy among water-powered mills of this region for both its daring placement on a waterway as powerful as the Delaware River and for the amount of original mill machinery that remains in place. The mill played a vital role in the area’s economy between 1832 and 1932. During these 100 years, the Stover Mill harnessed the power of the Delaware River to drive two metal turbines that ran machinery for milling wheat and corn, sawed timbers and even, thanks to the initiative of mill owner, John J. Stover, provided electricity to the village of Erwinna in the early part of the 20th century.
The mill underwent a major restoration of the supporting framework and basement level of the mill during the winter of 2011-2012. Due to age and the wet silt left behind by flooding, the wooden posts and beams that had supported the building and its 15 tons of mill stones and gears for 180 years required replacement.
With most of the mill machinery still in place, the Stover Mill today offers a special look back at local history. All four floors of the mill are open to the public during the Open House. Visitors will see everything from the power take off gears in the basement, to the four sets of millstones on the first floor, to the flour sifters on the third floor.
In addition to the mill and its machinery, visitors can enjoy a variety of historic maps and photographs, talk to local historic preservation specialists and enjoy stunning scenic views of the Delaware River from the rear Dutch doors on the first and third floors.
When the need for water powered mills declined in the 1930s, the Stover Mill was used for the storage of grain and flour until 1955 when John J. Stover, grandson of the builder Henry Stover, donated the mill to the Tinicum Civic Association. On other weekends from April through October, the first floor of the mill serves as an art gallery showcasing original works by regional artists. Exhibits change monthly and admission is always free.
The Historic American Building Survey (HABS) began in 1933 and is intended to increase awareness, knowledge and appreciation of historic buildings throughout the United States, while adding to the permanent HABS collection of measured drawings at the Library of Congress. In 2008, the team from Bucks County Community College, led by their instructor Kathryn Auerbach, won first place overall in a nationwide student competition for their measured drawings of the Best Farm – Stone Barn at the Monocacy National Battlefield in Frederick, Md. Ms. Auerbach, will be available during the Open House to explain not only the features of the Stover Mill, but the preservation and documenting of historic buildings in general.
Directions: The Stover Mill is located along the Delaware River at 852 River Road (Rte 32) in Erwinna, PA. Erwinna is about 2 miles south of the bridge to Frenchtown, NJ, and about 15 miles north of New Hope.
Photo by Cindi Sathra 2017
The Tinicum Civic Association is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization composed of all residents and property owners in Tinicum Township. For more information about the TCA, the Gallery or the Open House, call 610-294-9420.