First, the goodies! In response to the first Kiamensi post, I was contacted by Marshallton resident Denis Hehman, who was gracious enough to provide me with some documents, as well as the story I'll pass along in a moment. Denis has his own website, Historic Lower Red Clay Valley, that is well worth checking out. Among many other things, he has on there some present-day pictures of the mill site and the surrounding area. He also has a map, prepared by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), showing the remnants of structures that were present when they surveyed the site a few years back. The highlight, though (at least for me), was a four page History of the Mill Seat at Kiamensi that comes complete with maps, including an amazing 1927 Sanborn Fire Insurance map. Although the map dates to a couple years after the mill closed, it is an invaluable resource that shows just how extensive the operation was at the site. The report was one of several done in the 1990's when the county was looking at replacing sewer lines throughout the Red Clay Valley. I thank Denis very much for sharing these with us.
So that makes sense, but why, you might ask, was SHPO nosing around the site a few years ago? It seems we have Denis to thank for that also. I'll let him tell the story in his own words:
A few years ago after the floods of 2003 there was a house that sat on top of the mill foundation that was purchased by the county with help from FEMA. 2-3 years ago it came time to demolish it. The county had plans to level the site saying there was nothing historical about it. A neighbor and I contacted officials and people in Dover. Well, to make a long story short the State Historic Preservation Office came up and determined it was eligible for the National Register. They came up with a preservation plan and gave us a copy along with a history of the site.So, on behalf of everyone who cares about preserving our local history, I want to thank Denis and his neighbor for stepping up, and speaking up, for this almost-forgotten and lost piece of history. One last thing he directed me to was a collection of photographs from a 1921 DelDOT bridge survey, which actually contains many pictures of bridges in Mill Creek Hundred. Most are simply pictures of small old bridges, but some have treasures in the background, like the two shown on this post. The picture above is of a small bridge that spanned the millrace, with the best shot of the mill I'll come across behind it. I'm not 100% sure what we're looking at, but I think it's the north end of the mill -- the end facing the B&O tracks. The picture below is of the covered bridge that took Kiamensi Road across the Red Clay (beautiful in its own right), with a bit of the mill poking out in the background. Unless someone's got something hidden in their attic, it looks like this is the best we have.
The last thing I want to do is try to straighten out a little about the locations of the other mills owned by the Kiamensi Woolen Company. In addition to the one at Kiamensi, they also bought several mills closer to Stanton. As noted in the History of the Mill Seat, they purchased the duPont and Taylor textile mill, seems to have sat opposite the end of Telegraph Road, probably back behind where Happy Harry's is now. The larger one, though, was the Independence Mill, which was located down old Route 7 just short of the Hale-Byrnes House. As best as I can tell, it sat about where the parking lot is for the office building next to Shone's Lumber. If I come across any more information about this topic, or any other topic already covered, I'll be sure to pass it along.