Bahr’s Mill is a stone mill building built in 1897 to house Jacob Bahr’s (pronounced Bear) woodworking and grist mill business. It is part of a farm complex in the village of Gabelsville, Berks County, Pennsylvania, 1 mile north and west of the center of Boyertown. The site was home to a linseed oil mill from before 1828 until the 1890’s, and woodworking machinery was installed in the early 1870’s. The machinery, which includes a duplicating lathe, a polishing machine (belt sander) and a spoke-tenoning machine, has 1870 and 1871 patent dates. There are also two standard lathes, both over 10 feet long
The mill was water-powered by the overshot wheel until severe flooding in 1938, when the dam washed out. Also, in 1945, the Bahr Family won a contract from the Boyertown Burial Casket Company for the sawmill (across the street), requiring more hours of operation than the millponds could provide. At that time, the woodworking business was largely ignored until Lawrence Bahr closed the sawmill in 1967.
I have passed by this old Mill a few times and decided to go see what’s there and the History behind it. It’s pretty much very similar to the old Mills that are up here around my area. They all seem to have the same design. The small over-hang up near the roof was used to haul needed material to make the flour & corn meal. The was a 2-block pulley hung there, that is long gone. The Mill Race is behind the Mill where water entered to drive the water wheel. There was a Mill Pond located up behind the Mill where the water came from. It is now all dried up and full of weeds.
This is a Pulley drive system that was used to drive a crushing stone. A wide rubber belt went around the wheel on the left. The V-belt wheel is made of wood, also and is to the left. Back then there was no electric. Everything was powered by a water wheel that drove the other machinery. Water was a huge energy source in the old days before electricity.
This old Mill is open for Tours the 1st Sunday of every month. I just may go back down here and attend one of these tours to learn something about long ago.
Thanks for stopping by.