Skip to main content

Jerusalem Mill - Kingsville, Maryland

 



Located on the Gunpowder River (also known as Little Gunpowder Falls) and surrounded by the Gunpowder Falls State Park, the historic Jerusalem Mill Village began taking shape before Harford County, Maryland was established. Today, the village still includes a grist mill, the Miller’s House, blacksmith forge, tenant house, general store, Jerusalem Mansion, Bank Barn, springhouse, a two story smokehouse and dairy, along with a another residence. Jerusalem Mill was one of the important early mills in Harford County, and one of the largest in the State of Maryland. The Jericho Covered Bridge is located adjacent to the village. All of the existing buildings were built in the 1700s or 1800s by the Lee family, owners of the Jerusalem Mill for over one hundred years, and have been preserved for history by a group called the Friends of Jerusalem Mill.

Jerusalem Mill itself was built between 1769 and 1772 by miller David Lee and millwright Isaiah Linton. It is the oldest and most impressive of Harford County’s historic mills, and was one of eighteen mills constructed by Isaiah Linton. While over 300 mill sites have been identified in Harford County, only a handful of the mills survive, and the Jerusalem Mill is the only extant mill along the Little Gunpowder Falls. A low lying site along the Fall Line on Little Gunpowder Falls called Jerusalem was selected as a mill seat. After completing the mill’s construction in August 1772, David Lee began milling flour under the "White Silk" label. Much of the gristmill’s flour was shipped down the Chesapeake on the way to the Caribbean. By 1814, the Jerusalem mill site had grown to include a saw mill, blacksmith and coopers shops, miller’s house, mill workers’ houses, general store, post office, and other support structures.

Originally known as Lee's Merchant Mill, Jerusalem Mill is also important as the centerpiece for one of the most complete mill villages in Maryland, and the only remaining example of an industrial complex within the Little Gunpowder Falls, which was among the state’s most prominent areas of early industrialization. David Lee’s mill village reflected the transformation that was occurring at the hands of early entrepreneurs during the Industrial Revolution. Numerous merchant mills were established in this area to take advantage of the growing flour export trade through the important port of Baltimore as well as the rise of grain production then replacing tobacco in importance as an agricultural commodity. Lee was a Quaker who came to Maryland from Bucks County. Pennsylvania, intentionally selecting a site along a river with ample power to support milling operations, with others following suit for similar reasons. This fostered many other industrial operations beyond milling that were also dependent on water power. As a result, the Little Gunpowder Falls featured prominently in the development of Maryland. The Jerusalem mill complex represents an early example of vertical integration as Lee’s operations included a tenant farmer who raised grain that was ground in the mill, and then was packed in barrels made on site through the sawmill and coopers shop for transport to distant markets.

Interestingly, Lee was a cousin to the Ellicott brothers, who founded the premier Maryland mill town at Ellicott Mills (later Ellicott City, just west of Baltimore) at about the same time. In fact, Lee traveled together with the Ellicotts to explore areas in Maryland conducive to the establishment of mill sites. Prior to establishing Jerusalem Mill, Lee apprenticed as a millwright. As a progressive agriculturalist, Lee convinced his neighbors of the value of grain over tobacco production and was among the first in the area to introduce fertilizers such as lime to replenish the soil. In 1816, the mill property was passed on to his son Ralph S. Lee, who produced cornmeal and flour. His son, David Lee II, took over in 1862. He diversified operations at the mill site to reintroduce a saw mill, as well as introducing a cider press and various retail operations. David Lee II was also instrumental in getting the nearby Jericho Covered Bridge constructed in 1865. The mill property remained in the Lee family until 1886, continuing to operate under water power into the 20th Century. The mill was converted to electricity after a flood broke the dam in 1940. It ceased operations in 1961 with the death of its last miller, John Bridges.

Jerusalem Mill is an elegant and impressive example of the once numerous mill buildings of this region. It saw great changes in technology and economy through its two centuries of operation. The half mile long mill race channeled water into the mill and powered two internal pitch back waterwheels. These were later replaced by two horizontal water turbines, which turned the vertical shafts driving the machinery above. The ground floor served as the grinding level with 52 inch millstones.  It is a massive, three-story, heavy timber frame structure, measuring 60 by 36 feet and set on a high stone basement 2 to 3 feet thick and is banked into the hillside. The frame exterior is covered by board and batten siding and the steeply pitched gable roof enabled a unique feature for the mill, allowing for two levels of dormer windows. A date stone located near the north entrance is inscribed "1772 – David Lee" and is surrounded by dressed stone. While the exterior remains intact, much of the interior framing and equipment date to the 19th Century. Still extant are the 2 foot square white oak posts supporting the corners of the building at each level, large oak beams, and posts held by joints pegged with large treenails. In addition to flour milling, barrel making, and blacksmithing, Lee manufactured gun stocks for the Maryland militia in a small stone building adjoining the mill.

Abandoned for years, a group called the Friends of Jerusalem Mill was formed in 1985, setting their sights on restoring all the buildings of the historic Jerusalem Mill Village. Fallen into a severe state of disrepair, the mill village of nearly a dozen main buildings offered the organization challenges. Recognized by the Preserve America Stewards Program, they have achieved great results preserving the grist mill, gun factory, blacksmith shop, general store and springhouse. It was later restored by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as a public living history museum due to the efforts of the Friends of Jerusalem Mill and is now one of the oldest, most complete mill villages in Maryland. The Historic Jerusalem Mill Village, part of Gunpowder Falls State Park, provides an opportunity to view and understand the workings of a self-sufficient mill village. In addition to the Jerusalem Mill, the twelve other buildings in the area include the stone miller’s house, gun shop, blacksmith shop, bank barn, tenant house, store, and other support buildings. The Miller’s House is a two story stone house with a large exterior stone chimney. The early 19th Century blacksmith shop is an example of a structure made of rubble stone that includes quoining at the corners. Lee’s stone mansion and the house built for his tenant farmer are also still standing just outside of the village proper.

Today, you can visit the historic Jerusalem Mill village by walking around the grounds or visiting any of the buildings that are open to the public. The buildings that are open to the public are the grist mill (where the visitor center is located), blacksmith shop, springhouse, Miller's House and McCourtney's General Store. The Miller's House was once known as the gun shop, due to its for its alleged use during the American Revolutionary War for the production of gunstocks for the Maryland Militia. The McCourtney's General Store had its moment during the Civil War when a band of Confederate Cavalry under the command of Colonel Harry W. Gilmor swooped down and "requisitioned" nearly $1,000 worth of goods and horses. There are also some private residences that are around the Jerusalem Mill village that are understandably not open to the public.

A private residence that blends in well with the historic Jerusalem Mill Village.


McCourtney's General Store.


Bank Barn.



Historic grist mill and visitor's center.

The historic Baltimore and Jerusalem Turnpike is now part of US 1, known locally as Belair Road.


Historic millstone.


Blacksmith Shop





Grist mill and miller's house.


Little Gunpowder Falls.



Miller's House.


There is a garden behind the Miller's House. But since it was December, the growing season was done.




Side profile of the blacksmith shop.





How to Get There (Jerusalem Mill):



Sources and Links:
Instagram - Jerusalem Mill Village
Maryland Historical Trust - Jerusalem Mill Village
Scenic USA - Maryland - Jerusalem Mill
Society of Architectural Historians - Jerusalem Mill
Visit Harford Maryland - Historic Jerusalem Mill Village
Enjoy Baltimore County Maryland - Historic Jerusalem Mill Village
Historic Jerusalem Mill Village - Welcome to the Historic Jerusalem Mill Village
Historic Jerusalem Mill Village - Photo Gallery
Maryland Department of Natural Resources - Gunpowder Falls State Park / Jerusalem Mill History

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Horace Wilkinson Bridge (Baton Rouge, LA)

Standing tall across from downtown Baton Rouge, the Horace Wilkinson Bridge carries Interstate 10 across the lower Mississippi River between West Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parishes. Unusually, the bridge is actually named for three separate people; three generations of Horace Wilkinsons who served in the Louisiana State Legislature over a combined period of 54 years. Constructed in the 1960s and opened to traffic in 1968, this is one of the largest steel bridges on the lower Mississippi. It’s also the tallest bridge across the Mississippi, with its roadway reaching 175 ft at the center span. Baton Rouge is the northernmost city on the river where deep-water, ocean-going vessels can operate. As a result, this bridge is the northernmost bridge on the river of truly gigantic proportions. Altogether, the bridge is nearly 2 ½ miles long and its massive truss superstructure is 4,550 ft long with a center main truss span of 1,235 ft. The Horace Wilkinson Bridge is one of the largest

Veterans Memorial Bridge (Gramercy, LA)

When we think of the greatest engineering achievements and the greatest bridges of North America, we tend to focus on those located in places familiar to us or those structures that serve the greatest roles in connecting the many peoples and cultures of our continent. Greatness can also be found in the places we least expect to find it and that 'greatness' can unfortunately be overlooked, due in large part to projects that are mostly inconsequential, if not wasteful, to the development and fortunes of the surrounding area. In the aftermath of the George Prince ferry disaster that claimed the lives of 78 people in October 1976 in nearby Luling, LA, the state of Louisiana began the process of gradually phasing out most of its prominent cross-river ferry services, a process that remains a work in progress today. While the Luling-Destrehan Ferry service was eliminated in 1983 upon completion of the nearby Hale Boggs Memorial Bridge, the ferry service at Gramercy, LA in rural St.

Sunshine Bridge (Donaldsonville, LA)

Located about halfway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans in southern Louisiana, the Sunshine Bridge spans the lower Mississippi River near the city of Donaldsonville as part of the longer Louisiana Highway 70 corridor, which connects Interstate 10 and Airline Highway (US 61) with US 90 in Morgan City. In the years following World War II, the only bridges across the lower Mississippi River in Louisiana were located in the area of the state’s two largest cities – Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Postwar agricultural and industrial development along the river in this region led to the planning of a series of infrastructure projects in southern Louisiana that were aimed at spurring this development and modernization of the Delta region. One of these projects was known as the Acadian Thruway and was developed in the 1950s as a toll road intended to connect greater New Orleans with Lafayette and points west while providing a high-speed bypass of the Baton Rouge metro area. The Thruway, which