Located at 671 Sandhill Road, Pequea, PA, along the banks of the Pequea Creek is Sickman’s Mill. It is a monument to a forgotten time. Some version of the mill existed in this location as early as 1793 when Christian Shenk used the property as a distillery.
Over the years, the mill would see a succession of different owners who used it for various purposes, such as a flour mill, grist mill, distillery, oil mill, and sawmill.
Warren Sickman was the mill’s last operator who sold the property in 1967. As a flour mill, it had a peak capacity of 100 barrels per day and was powered exclusively by water until its closing. For a complete history of the ancient mill, click here.
Fun Fact: The power to operate the mill’s machinery came entirely from the water that ran below it. The canal that feeds the water turbine can absorb as much as 1/3 of the entire Pequea’s flow.
After ending life as a mill, Sickman’s Mill served as an antique mall (1980s), museum (1970s), campground (1970-1990s), haunted house (1989 – 2003), and wedding venue. Recently, current owners Joe Devoy and his wife, Dana Paparo, have breathed new life into the property. The duo brought tubing back this summer after a three-year hiatus, as well as live entertainment and other fun events. Just check out their events page.
Fun Fact: The mill’s original hardware fills each floor of the building’s interior, much of which is still operational.
The Haunting of Sickman’s Mill
With a name like Sickman’s, you would almost be surprised if the location wasn’t haunted.
Legend has it that the cavernous stone building is haunted by a former miller killed in a robbery gone wrong in the early 1800s. However, there isn’t much evidence in the newspaper archives to support that story.
What is true is the unfortunate death of Frederick Pfeifer on December 1, 1845, on his way to the mill with a load of wheat.
According to local historian H. Frank Eshleman, Pfeifer was driving along “Mud Lane,” which ran from present-day Marticville Methodist Church to Sickman’s Mill, on a snowy, wintry day. As he approached the hill, Pfeifer found his team of horses slipping toward the cliff, unable to make the turn. Pfeifer attempted to jump from the wagon but got caught in the rigging and was dragged over the high bank with deadly results.
Fun Fact: This tragic tale inspired the name—Horse Hollow—for this area along the Pequea Creek. Click here to read more about Horse Hollow.
More recently, when the property was used as a campground, more than one camper at different times reported seeing an eerie, glowing green light coming from various third-floor windows of the mill at night. An inspection inside the mill the following morning found nothing that would produce such a glow.
Could the ghostly green glow belong to Frederick Pfeifer, who unable to reach the mill in life, is forever trapped there in death?
If you are looking for some haunted fun at Sickman’s Mill, check out their October 31, 2021, Halloween event: The true stories of Sickman’s Mill!! Click the link to learn more.