- Standard View
The first grist mill built by Daniel Kennedy and put into operation on this site on Slippery Rock Creek in 1852 burned, but was very soon rebuilt in 1868. Update: Kennedy's Mill was at the intersection of Pennsylvania Legislative Route 37026 where it crosses Slippery Rock Creek near Route 19 and Harlansburg, Pennsylvania. Part of the stone foundation of this mill is visible under the bridgework, and the mill dam is still there.
A parting view of McConnells Mill, used on www.ohiobarns.com and used with Mike MacCarter's permission.
Update: Joseph Knight built a grist mill in 1824 at the northern-most end of the scenic gorge on Slippery Rock Creek. Alexander McConnell built a second mill on the site in 1857. Then following a fire in 1867, the third and present mill was erected in 1868 by Thomas McConnell, whose son, James, acquired the mill in 1875, and converted the mill to water turbines and roller mills, one of the first in the nation. The foundations of the earlier mill are located just down stream from McConnell's Mill along the Kildoo Trail not far from and on the same side of the stream as McConnell's Mill.
He did this by installing steel turbines instead of the old waterwheel, thereby providing a more efficient power system. He also did away with the grindstones, replacing them with steel roller mill units, a new state-of-the-art inovation. A grindstone stands left of center, while three rollermills are along the wall right to rear-center.
The cornmeal grinder is the focus of this photo. The mill ground corn,wheat, oats, and buckwheat with great regularity until ceasing operations in 1928.
This is a sideways view of the grain hopper feeding a grain cleaner, a process intended to eliminate some of the middlings.
This photo shows a flour sifter, refining the flour to smaller, finer particles in the production of the finished product, fine unbleached flour. The mill became the central part of the newly created McConnell's Mill State Park also in 1957.
Taken from McConnell's Mill State Park Interpretive material in the 1970's inside the mill. The timber-crib mill dam construction circa 1900. *Updates to page courtesy of Ted Hazen 09/2009*
McConnell's Mill Interpretive material, 1970's, inside of the mill. Mose Wharton and his faithful dog. Update: The miller's helper was Mose Wharton, who was born into slavery near Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He came to work at the mill in the 1880's when he was about 20 years old. He had a modest life style (he got all the flour and meal he wanted for free from the mill), and lived in a 3-sided shack built against one of the huge boulders that line the gorge. He had little to spend his money on and eventually became richer than the mill owner. So when the mill closed in 1928, he took over ownership of the mill and guardianship of it.
Mose Wharton at the mill- photo from Hazen family photo collection. Update: He was the mill's caretaker and guide for many years after it closed. It was customary to pay him a quarter for his services when visitors came to see the mill and the scenery. Mose mother, Sarah Wharton, lived with him until her death. Mose would travel around to neighboring farms lending a hand & helping out well into his eighties. In 1953, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy purchased the mill site and 2,000 adjacent acres. Mose Wharton died in 1954 when he was 80-85 years old, his exact birthdate not known for certain.