Lucky Welcome #14030

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The Story

This old wooden door with the lucky horseshoe above it is the entry to an old water-powered mill in Pennsylvania called Waterside Woolen Mill. The first mill on the site dates to 1830, this current building was erected in 1860. The mill is so old they made blankets for the Union Army here during the Civil War, and the machinery inside is still in working condition! They still make blankets for Civil War reenactors to this day with US Army woven into them.

The building itself is built on a solid foundation of local limestone or fieldstone that still stands firm and square with two more wooden stories above, with most of the machinery on those second and third floors. This main door and lockset that uses a skeleton key may very well be original, and the title of Lucky Welcome is from the lucky horseshoe above the door. Note that it hangs open side up to hold the good luck in!

Everything inside runs on leather belts and pulleys suspended from the ceiling. The old looms make the patterns from cards with punched holes, much like an early computer. Today, power to the mill is supplied by electric motors because the waterwheel is inoperative, yet the pond and dam are still there. Back in the day, there were many shepherds with flocks of sheep in the area who would bring clipped wool here for spinning and manufacture, but today already spun wool is brought in from elsewhere.

The blankets produced here were always the broadly woven type made with thicker yarns. The image Blanket Mill Bobbins #14029 shows one of the blankets with some of the original wooden bobbins and thick yarn that was used here. The modern wool is taken from the larger spools and rewrapped onto the old bobbins, or quills, that fit into the antique machinery.

There is more information on the early 1800s throwback Waterside Woolen Mill here on Facebook.

Location: Waterside, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Image and text © Andrew Dierks

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