Newspaper Page Text
A2tf-Lancaataf Firming, Saturday, July 23, 1994
LOU ANN GOOD
Lancaster Farming Staff
RONKS (Lancaster Co.) —The
creak of wheels turning, the swish
of water rolling over the water
wheel, and the faint aroma of stone
ground wheat transport visitors
back in time.
“I suspect we do things just
about the way they did them 142
years ago,” Christian L. Landis
A slight dusting of flour rests on
the wooden wheels, pulleys, ropes,
heavy belts, and wooden gears all
in working order at Rohrer’s Mill,
located near the Strasburg
Landis believes his mill is the
last one in the county to remain
People come from all over the
United States, from Africa, Japan,
and Europe to visit the mill that
was built in 1852.
It is believed to be the site of a
mill that was built during the early
settlement in the county, but writ
ten history can only trace it back to
1834 when Henry Rohrcr pur
chased the frame mill from the
Dcnlingcr family. Rohrer replaced
the frame structure with a large
brick grist and saw mill that has
out the mill as its power grinds cornmeal and flour.
Pulleys, ropes, wheels, and belts throughout the mill are
rigged to provide power and hoist 100-pound feed bags
from the bottom level to the top.
been in the Rohrer family for seven
generations. Henry Rohrcr was the
of Landis’ wife Esther. It is
through Esther’s side of the family
that the farm has been passed down
through the generations.
The mill was built on the fami
ly’s 133-acre farm, one mile south
of Route 741, along Calamus Run
in Paradise Township.
Esther said the creek was named
Calamus Run because so much
calamus reed grew on the
A dam is built at the stream that
feeds into a race and a pond. The
water is then piped into a water
tank, which feeds the waterwheel.
The couple married in 1940 and
farmed on another family farm for
about three years before moving to
the mill location. I-andis farmed
the land until 1968, when his
father-in-law retired and Landis
took over the mill duties.
The pulleys and wheels are all
water powered except for the diesel
engine used for the hammer mill.
The only mechanized machinery in
the mill is the mechanical sewer
used to lie flour bags.
Landis said that, to his know
ledge, modernizing the mill was
Christian and Esther Landis walk In front of the mill that has been passed down
through Esther’s side of the family, the Rohrers, since 1834.
The frame part of the mill was purchased by the Rohrer family in 1834. Later, Rohrer
replaced It with a brick g rist and sawmill and enlarged it with an addition, in which a 15
horse-power engine was installed. The mill operates today just as it had in the 1800 s,
with power from a watei
never considered as a possibility. It
certainly is not a consideration
“It’s so old now that it is of his
torical interest,” Landis said as he
talked of the articles written and
pictures taken of the mill.
Things have slowed down a bit
from 1930 s when business was at
its peak with about 13,000 bushels
of wheat ground into cracked
wheat and whole wheat pastry
flour. Then, the waterwheel also
operated a saw mill in the front part
of (he feed mill.
Although the hum of the saw
mill has long ceased, Landis said,
“Everything is there that could put
it back into use.”
Even wooden signs informing
customers of log milling rules and
prices arc still posted. One reads:
Sawing off nails $l.OO per nail.
“You know what nails do to
saws,” Landis said. “If they hit a
nail, it ruined the blade and they
had to stop to sharpen it.”
Now the mill primarily grinds
the com and wheat grown on the
property. The flour is bagged and
sold to local stores and co-ops.
The two large millstones that
stone-grind the com and wheat are
encasscd in a round wooden struc
ture. Slone-ground meal is sought
after by food connoisseurs and
those interested in the nutritional
value of whole grain products.
For customers interested in a fin-
Rohrer’s Mill Is Re
item In the mill.