Along Village Road between Lampeter and Strasburg sits the historic 1822 Olde Village Mill, previously known as the Edisonville Mill and before that, the Herr Mill.
A mill has existed on this site as early as 1740. John Herr built this 18th-century structure and operated it as a grist and sawmill. His son, Abraham, eventually took ownership in 1769, expanding the stone edifice to 3.5 stories with a 36’x40′ footprint. Abraham operated the mill until he died in 1800.
In 1822, Samuel Herr, great-grandson of John Herr, with help from his father, built a new, larger 40’x50′ stone mill—the same building that sits there today. Ownership of the mill stayed in the Herr family for more than 100 years until Daniel K. Herr sold it to B.D. Moyer in 1874. During that time, the mill saw duty as a flour, corn meal, grist, sawmill, and distillery.
As with all mills at the time, the Herr Mill—as it was known then—utilized moving water to power its many gears and belts. A 2,600-foot-long headrace diverted water from Pequea Creek, where it turned an overshot wheel, giving life to the enormous building. A tailrace of 50 feet guided the water back to the creek.
This brief video from Mascot Roller Mills gives you a sense of what it would have looked and sounded like inside the original Herr Mill.
In 1902, the mill saw a new use as the Edisonville Hydro Electric Station when the Borough of Strasburg gave Mr. L. J. Bair the right to serve electricity in Strasburg. Bair installed a generator, auxiliary steam engine, and boiler at the mill. The former grist mill was now owned by Mr. H. C. Bair (likely a relative) and became known as the Edisonville Mill in time. This is why the area is sometimes referred to as Edisonville. In 1923, electric generation ended.
Fun Fact: Before the 1900s, this community was called “Turniptown” for reasons lost to history. *But if I had to take a guess, I would say turnips were involved.* UPDATE: After publishing the story, one read shared the etymology of the town’s name. Here’s what she said:
In the 1800s, a farmer was transporting a wagon full of turnips to market. Unfortunately, the wagon tipped over while going too fast on a sharp corner of the gravel road, spilling the vegetables all over the ground.
The farmer tried to pick up all the turnips, but there were too many. He had to leave some of them behind. The remaining turnips were eventually beaten into the road by the hooves of other horses using the road.
In the coming days, the locals began to notice a strange smell in the air. It was the scent of rotting turnips. The odor lingered for months, and the locals started calling the area “Turniptown.”
There’s even a ghost story involving the covered bridge that once crossed the Pequea just a quarter of a mile from the mill known as the Spook of Turniptown Bridge. You can read the haunted tale here.
In 1951, the former mill started a new chapter in its life, becoming the home of the Paul R. Strubel VFW Post 8710. Next, it housed the Eagle Gun Museum from 1966 until 1984. The structure was then converted into apartments and later a single-family dwelling in 2004.
In January 2023, Daryl and Dianna Stoltzfus of West Earl Township purchased the property and embarked on a journey to breathe new life into this iconic landmark. Determined to honor the mill’s legacy, the Stoltzfus began an ambitious restoration journey that would see the old 1822 mill restored to its former glory in an attempt to blend its storied history with modern touches.
The stone monolith is situated on a five-acre property along Pequea Creek and has been rebranded as the Olde Village Mill. The restoration revealed the mill’s original stone walls, some measuring 30 inches thick, that were meticulously stripped of plaster and expertly repointed to preserve their authentic character. Every floor of its towering 3.5 stories tells a story. The second floor boasts beautifully aged wooden floors and preserved plaster walls, while the lower level proudly showcases the original mill raceway floor that directed water flow through the mill.
The transformation didn’t stop at preservation. The mill’s interior has been thoughtfully modernized to accommodate contemporary needs. The third-floor attic space has been ingeniously redesigned into lounges where wedding parties can prepare for their special day. The main entrance proudly displays the mill’s original windows, reminding visitors of the rich history surrounding them. Outdoor enhancements have been made to facilitate enchanting outdoor wedding ceremonies, promising a picturesque backdrop for couples embarking on a new chapter of their lives.
Planning Your Visit
The Olde Village Mill is located at 1350 Village Road, Strasburg, PA 17579. Your next chance to tour the venue will be on December 2, 2023, when it is a featured stop on the annual Holiday Home Tour hosted by the Strasburg Heritage Society. For media inquiries, interviews, or on-site visits, contact Daryl and Dianna Stoltzfus at 717.271.1042 or email@example.com. For more information, visit www.oldevillagemill.com. You can also find the Olde Village Mill on Facebook and Instagram.
- Edisonville Mill
- Edisonville Mill / Herr Mill
- Compass: 1350 Village Road
- The History of the Gas and electric industries in Lancaster County
- Historic Olde Village Mill in Strasburg, PA Transformed into a Stunning Wedding and Special Events Venue Celebrating Timeless Heritage
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The Spook of Turniptown Bridge
The bridge crossing Pequea Creek outside of Lampeter is said to be haunted. The tragic story involves a man who sold his soul to the devil for great wealth and attempted to evade repayment. His eternal punishment has made him the Spook of the Turniptown Bridge. Click the link to read this cautionary tale.
1864 Map of Strasburg Township, Lancaster County, PA$24.99 – $25.99
Exploring Share’s Mill and Headrace Tunnel
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. With the property owner’s permission, I recently got to find out with local history enthusiasts Don Kautz and Benton Webber. Click here to see images of what we saw.
Visit one of Lancaster County’s Hidden Treasures: Mascot Roller Mills
Step back in time and visit a working water-powered grist mill—one of only two in Lancaster County. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Mascot Roller Mills along the banks of scenic Mill Creek offers a clear window to early 20th-century life. Admission is free. Click here to learn more.