Sickman’s Mill: A stone monument to a forgotten time

A Brief History of Sickman’s Mill

Located at 671 Sandhill Road, Pequea, PA in Conestoga Township along the banks of the Pequea Creek, Sickman’s Mill is a monument to a forgotten time. The power to operate its machinery came entirely from the water that ran below it. In fact, the canal that feeds the water turbine can absorb 1/3 of the creek water. Built in 1793 by a Christian Shenk, he used the property as a distillery.

Sickman's Mill in 1987
Sickman’s Mill in 1987

An earlier mill was possibly built on the location as early as 1765 when a John Stone’s mill was offered at Sheriff sale. Tax lists of 1772 show Samuel Hess owning a mill in this location, probably bought at the 1765 Sheriff’s sale.

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This ring gear is driven by an 80 horsepower water turbine.

The succession of owners from this point goes from Christian Shenk in 1777 to his son, Jacob Shenk, in 1820. Records from this time indicate the mill was a 30′ x 40′ three-story stone mill with a stone oil mill and even a sawmill in the grouping.

Jacob B. Good bought the mill in 1842 and discontinued the distillery business due to tax reforms at the time. In 1844, it was sold to Ben Hess. The mill changed hands again in 1857 when it was again sold at Sheriff’s sale for back taxes to Daniel Good.

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Between 1862 and 1865, the mill was enlarged to a massive 4.5 story, 40 x 60 foot buildings with 30 inch thick stone walls. The mill was supersized to accommodate the roller process. The project was accomplished by Daniel & William Good, as is evidenced by the datestone on the third story outside wall, south exposure, between the second and third windows.

Other owners over the years included John Haskell, Geroe L. Buckwalter around 1899/1900, William and Samuel Pugh, and Fred H. Sickman.

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The mill was last operated by Warren Sickman until it sold in May 1967. As a flour mill, it had a peak capacity of 100 barrels per day and was powered exclusively by water until the time of its closing. The mill used two turbines to power the stones and later the roller process.

In January of 1996, torrential downpours took out the seven-foot dam 150′ upstream on the Pequea.

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Sickman’s Mill in 1987

Sickman’s Mill has been a flour & grist mill, distillery, oil mill, and sawmill. It has also served as an antique mall, museum, campground, and haunted house.

The mill’s name was derived from an operator in the early 1900s, Warren Sickman.

Sickman’s Mill Today

Today, you can rent the entire Sickman’s Mill facility to host your wedding or other large group parties. Each floor of the interior is filled with the original mill hardware, much of which is still operational.

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One comment

  1. This looks so much like a mill on the Codorus Creek off of N. Sherman Street in York County that it is uncanny.

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