Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Meeteer House

The Meeteer House
For the first few posts here, we've stayed on the eastern side of MCH, but the hundred actually stretches all the way west to White Clay Creek on the eastern edge of Newark. So as not to slight the western portion of MCH, we'll now take a drive down Kirkwood Highway.

While traveling west on Kirkwood Hwy, just before Possum Park Road, there sits on the right a shining white, 2 1/2 story Federal-style home. While the house currently serves as the Yasik Funeral Home, its history goes back much, much further. And while you wouldn't think to connect them now, this classy 5-bay, wood-frame house has direct ties to an significant, and recently lost, piece of Newark-area history.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Harlan-Chandler Mill Complex, Part II

Abram Chandler House
In the last post, we took a look at the 3-story, fieldstone house that turned out to have been built within the shell of the 1815 Harlan grist mill. In this post, we'll turn our eyes to the other house in the complex, the Abram Chandler House. The dwelling is a 2 1/2 story brick structure, with five bays, a centered door, and three dormers. There is also a full-sized ell built onto the rear of the house.

According to the 1987 DelDot report, Abram Chandler purchased the mill and property from the Harlan family in 1852, then conveyed the property the same year to Samuel Chandler, probably his son or brother. Samuel then sold the property back to Abram in 1863. It's unclear whether Samuel operated the mill during that 11 year period, or whether Abram did. It's quite likely, though, that sometime not long after 1863 Abram was looking for a larger, newer home. He built it, right next to his mill.

The Harlan-Chandler Mill Complex, Milltown

For my money, one of the most enjoyable aspects of studying local history is when you experience a "So that's what that is" moment. It might be a place name or street name suddenly making sense, or connecting a historical name with a place, or vice versa. It also can be finally learning the identity of something you've seen many times, but never knew the story behind. I had this experience a few days ago.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The MCHHB Is Back -- Now In Bite-Sized Form!

When I started this blog last year, I had an idea in my head as to what I wanted it to be. Partially due to external factors, but also partially due to that original vision, I was not able to keep up on this site very well (OK, not at all). My original (and still current) idea for this blog was for it to be a clearinghouse of sorts for all things relating to the history of Mill Creek Hundred. To the best of my knowledge, there is precious little on the web right now about our local history. I want to change this. However, I've found that the first thing I've had to change was my way of going about it.

My plan was to put out occasional posts (maybe one a week) detailing the background and history of a MCH site or structure. They would be long, comprehensive posts containing as much information as my grubby little hands could get a hold of. The Mermaid Tavern post is an example of what I set out to do. I think it's a good post, but it took far too long to do, and I ended up getting stuck when I tried to repeat it. I just don't have the time.

So now, here's my new idea -- shorter posts. For anyone who might have read me anywhere else, you'll know that "short posts" are not exactly my strong point. I do tend to ramble a bit sometimes (this would be a good example here). I think, though, that if I set out to write shorter posts, it'll be easier for me to keep up. Instead of doing one big, super-post detailing every single aspect of a site, I'll pick one part of it (or maybe just what I've found so far) and do a smaller post. If I end up doing multiple posts on a certain topic, I will link them and use tags so that anyone interested in learning more can read everything on that subject. Got it?

Hopefully, this new plan will allow me to post more often, as well as have some fun along the way. Check back often for new posts, and as always, feedback is always appreciated. Thanks!