Lost Mills of the Wissahickon

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

Old water mill, near the Wissahickon. Taken Oct. 14, 1906.

Library Company of Philadelphia

There were dozen of mills located along the Wissahickon Creek. The history of them is fascinating. I'm only interested in the mills located on the 1868 survey map of the Wissahickon Creek. From what I have heard, they were major polluters that dumped a ton of waste into the Wissahickon. Almost all of the mills were demolished by the City of Philadelphia after they took over the land. If you walked by the original sites of the old mills, you would never know they existed. They had the same fate as the Inns of the Wissahickon. There is one mill still standing. That one is located in Historic Rittenhouse. Here is the link. How do you learn about the mills? You can always search the internet, but there isn't that much out there. Here is my recommendation. You need to grab your Philadelphia library card (you won't find this book anywhere else) and head over to the Parkway Central Library in Philadelphia. This library holds the key to the past of the Mills. There is a set of (extremely rare) books that can't be checked out. They contain more information than I have ever seen on the internet. The pictures inside the books are great. Ask for the three-part series of "The Wissahickon Mills" by Douglas Macfarlan.

*** I plan on having a major update to this page with an exploration of each of the sites. That is going to take some more research and time.

Step 1.) Find a way to get to the Parkway Central Library at 1901 Vine Street

The Lost Mills @ Wissahickon Valley Park Philadelphia, PA

Step 2.) Head up the stairs to the Social Science and History Department and ask to see this set of books. These books can't be checked out. You have to read them at the library.

The Lost Mills @ Wissahickon Valley Park Philadelphia, PA

Here are the mills that you want to look for in the books.

1.) Livezey's Mill

2.) Magargees Mill (1)

3.) Magargees Mill (2)

4.) Bischoffs Mill

5.) Glen Fern Mill

6.) Gorgas Mill

7.) Kitchen Mill

8.) Rittenhouse Mill