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Compass Mill
Lancaster Co. | Pennsylvania | USA | Earlier log mill 1756, this mill 1775
Township: Warwick Twp. | Watersource: Lititz Run (Creek)



Compass Mill
Picture: Jim Miller 10/06/1987

The first grist mill was built on land purchased by George Kline from Hans Bender, whose sons had built the 700' headrace and 900'tailrace to supply an earlier saw mill. The 1756 log mill built was by the Moravian Brethern with water power obtained from Lititz Run.

Compass Mill
Picture: Robert T. Kinsey 11/18/2008

Inlet arch/arches, one covered by the sloping roof and the other to the left of same. A fire in 1775 destroyed the log mill, but it was rebuilt by the Moravians in 1775, a 2.5 / 3 story limestone mill 42'X 60' in size. The name came from the fact that the mill was laid out using the cardinal points of a compass.

Compass Mill
Picture: Robert T. Kinsey 11/18/2008

Compass Mill window showing the larde wooden waterwheel in the center of the mill.

Compass Mill
Picture: Robert T. Kinsey 11/18/2008

The new mill was owned by most of Litiz and Christian Franck in 1777, Christopher Franck and Lititz 1780,1781 & 1782, Philip Fredrich & Lititz 1785-1787, and Mr. Domzart & Lititz in 1797.

Compass Mill
Picture: Jim Miller 06/23/2007

The mill was owned by three generations of Kellers starting with John Keller in 1806; then, it was sold by S.E. Kellerand in 1865 to Benjamin Ritter. Benjamin Bitzer owned the mill from around 1875 and also in 1886. A.W. Shober owned it in 1883 and M.B. Weitzel in 1899. S.E. Bushong secured the mill in 1905.

Compass Mill
Picture: Robert T. Kinsey 11/18/2008

A possible addition in 1784 is corroberated by a datestone and changes in the stonework. This addition would have occurred around the Franck / Fredrich transfer. The mill was powered by 2 turbines powered by the water from the 700' headrace, dropping 6' from the stream to the turbines, then returning to the Lititz Run via a 900' tailrace.

Compass Mill
Picture: Jim Miller 10/06/1987

The inside shot shows a large wheel that quite possibly is an undershot wheel. This may be purely decorative, since undershot wheels weren't known to be very efficient. If it is the original wheel design, it would have to be a pitchback wheel. Another source remarks that two turbines were used to power the mill. The mill produced flour, grist and also operated as a sawmill, either separately or while functioning as a flour or grist mill.

Compass Mill
Picture: Jim Miller 06/23/2007

Average output was recorded as 25 barrels of flour/day. In 1925, W. Martin Hess aquired the mill and closed it in 1927. In 1987 through at least 1994, the mill was used as an antique furniture store.

Compass Mill
Picture: Robert T. Kinsey 11/18/2008

The mill has been maintained well through the years since closing, and still contains some water-powered milling equipment. It is sometimes called the Rome Mill, but that is the mill about a mile upstream and still standing in good shape.

"The Lord will be awesome to them, for He will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth; people shall worship Him, each one from his place, indeed all the shores of the nations."
(Zephaniah 2:11 NKJV)
Directions: Located along Pa 772/Rothsville Road about 2 miles SE of Lititz on Lititz Run.
 
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