Over the years, I’ve driven past this curious tunnel on Anderson Ferry Road between Marietta and Mount Joy and wondered what secrets it held. Last weekend, with the property owner’s permission, I got to find out with local history enthusiasts Don Kautz and Benton Webber.
The 200-foot tunnel, constructed in 1803, was once part of the 1,300 headrace for the nearby Share’s Mill, channeling water from Donegal Creek under the highway to the mill.
Heinrich Schaerr (Henry Share) built the current limestone structure in 1804. The 3.5-story mill has a massive 47’x57′ footprint with a 1,000-foot tailrace and an eight-foot drop from the water source to the mill forebay. Over the decades, it operated as a flour and grist mill, producing about ten barrels per day. It also functioned for a time as a distillery.
An added bonus was having the opportunity to explore inside the ancient stone edifice.
Our visit was part of Kautz’s research for his soon-to-be-released book, Mills of Lancaster County.
1864 Map of East Donegal Township, Lancaster County, PA$24.99 – $25.99