The Mill Race was hand dug in 1704 to redirect water from the West Branch
of Chester Creek to the Grist Mill. The water flows downstream through
this canal when a lever is turned in the mill. A gate opens and the water
collected here flows into the mill where it turns the water wheel.
Through the trees, notice the small stone building. This springhousewas
originally built in 1710 on a local farm. Records indicate that it served
as a residence in the 1700s for a descendant of one of the original Newlins.
In the 1970s, it was dismantled and rebuilt here over a natural spring.
As the mill race curves around toward the dam, it passes under the old
Octoraro Railroad bridge. The dam has been at this spot since 1704 when
Nathaniel Newlin needed to redirect water through the mill race to the
grist mill. The dam is now about 3 times larger than its original size.
In 1965, Rudy Fields, the first director of the park, built the log cabin
as a reception area for meetings, picnics, and parties. It has a ten-foot
wide fireplace where a huge blaze of logs would be kept burning all day
in the winter. The firewood came from clearing the land and the cabin
itself was built from logs hand sawed by Rudy Fields.
In 1975, a blacksmith shop was built around an old forge to the specifications
of an 18th century blacksmith shop. Field stone from the property was
used to build the shop. The blacksmith shop was equipped with an authentic
200-year-old forge and bellows and stocked with tools and implements of
colonial times. There has been no record found of a blacksmith here on
the site, yet it was an essential part of colonial industry and very important
Take your time traveling along the historical water walk and enjoy
the beauty of the park. There is a wide variety of plants and wildlife
to appreciate throughout the seasons. For everyone's enjoyment, please
do not disturb the natural surroundings.