is believed that the first mill was built at this site before 1734 by
Emanuel Hare. Records show a road request which refers to Emanuel
Hare’s Mill on the Pequea.
According to tax records,
George Withers owned the mill in 1793. He granted the mill in 1793 to
Michael Withers who we believe was his son.
In 1815 Michael Withers
mill house was listed as a stone three story 57x43 feet structure.
Sometime after 1824, Withers sold the mill to Adam Herr who owned the
property until 1843. At that time the mill was sold at a sheriff’s
The sheriff offered a 3
story mill 45x60 feet for sale and it was purchased by George Lefever.
According to the date stone, the current stone mill was built in 1846 by
George and Suzanna Lefever.
In 1864 the mill was owned
by Jacob Zercher, the nearby covered bridge is sometimes called
Zercher’s Mill Bridge.
In 1875 the mill was owned
by J. Harnish and in 1889 by Harvey Haverstick. Mr. Haverstick owned the
mill in 1889 to 1899 and then ownership changed to his wife. We believe
Harvey died in a milling accident. The Haverstick family owned the mill
property into 1905.
During the Haverstick
ownership, the old stone mill house was torn down and a new brick house
was built. All the trim in the house is walnut taken from trees on the
property. All the lumber was sawed at the sawmill on the mill
property. The date stone on the house is 1889.
Once again the mill with
three houses, barn and 22 acres was sold at sheriff’s sale. Harold
Hunsecker paid $12,005 for the property.
The mill was powered by an
undershot wheel that ran French burl stones that ground the wheat to
flour. Harold decided to up date the equipment. In 1905, Mr. Hunsecker
installed a Leffel Turbine and four 9x18 Robinson Roll Stands along with
a sifter and purifier.
In 1915, Harold added the
present poured cement silos. All the work was done by hand with about
100 men and boys. The boys were paid 12¢ an hour and the men received
15¢ an hour. The silos can store 40,000 bushels of wheat.
the updated equipment and additional wheat storage, the mill was able to
produce 75 barrels of flour per day. Much of that was shipped to
Philadelphia and New York. It was transported by wagon to the freight
station at West Willow and then by train. The flour was also sold
locally to Martin’s and Sturgis Pretzel Companies. Flour, bran and
middlings were sold to farmers and community members for daily use.
This mill was the center of
the community at Lime Valley. On the property was a sawmill and cider
mill. The post office was located in the mill office. Nearby there was
a quarry, buggy, wheelwright and blacksmith shops.
The Hunsecker’s had one
child, Anna. Harold died in 1936. He willed the property in a trust to
Anna who had married L. W. Lippold. The trust was controlled by a local
Mr. Lippold was an
electrical contractor and knew very little about the milling operation.
Due to that fact, the mill was not making money and the bank demanded
the mill be sold.
In 1941 the mill was
purchased by Lloyd Sheaffer and operated by his son, Reid.
In 1963 the Sheaffer’s sold
only the mill and 6+ acres for $17,000 to Lancaster Milling Co. They
continued manufacturing flour until 1972. During this time the flour
was bagged under the name “Daisy Flour.”
Agnes, the flood of 1972
hit the mill hard. Lancaster Milling discontinued it’s production at
the mill but used the silos for storage of wheat. In 1981 Lancaster
Milling Co. sold the mill at public auction. Roy and Helen Wagner
purchased the property of 6.249 acres for $27,200.
The Wagner’s converted the
mill to a hydroelectric plant and started generating in 1986. At that
time the small turbine could generate 10kwh at 60¢ an hour making $14.00
a day. The large turbine could generate 18kwh at $1.08 an hour making a
total of $25.92 per day.
As time pasted the dam
started sinking and the mill race filled with silt. There was not
enough water in the race to run the large turbine and the small turbine
could not run all day. It was not a profitable venture.
In 1996 Betty Sheaffer,
Reid’s widow placed the brick mill house with 15+ acres up for sale.
During the same time Helen Wagner considered selling the mill.
The current owners, John
and Karen Hofmeister, purchased both properties in 1996 with the intent
to restore the historic old stone mill.
Lime Valley Mill Farm’s 118
acres is perfect to grow biofuels to develop sustainable sources of
alternative energy. There are barns, big sheds and the mill itself to
process biomass from corn, alfalfa, grasses, soybeans and more. Biofuels
are usually produced from living plants, fungus and algae. Biofuels
contain 80% renewable materials. Since the living, organic, produces are
originally derived from the photosynthesis process, biofuels are often
referred to as sourced from solar energy.