Historic Places in South Jersey

Historic Places in South Jersey - Places to Go and Things to Do

A discussion of things to do and paces to go, with the purpose of sharing, and encouraging exploration of South Jersey.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Oliphant's Mill Has Lost its Wheel

Today two friends and I went to the Smithville that is in Atlantic County, not to be confused with the historic Smithville that is in Burlington County.  My purpose was to have a better look at Oliphant's Mill which I had been reading about in Old Mills of Camden County by Charles Boyer.  It had been the last standing mill in Gloucester County until it was moved to Smithville.  Here is a quote from a website about it:

"In my part of New jersey these things (old mills) are getting harder and harder to find. This one is on its last legs after being moved here from Gloucester County. When new sources of power replaced these things, mills were eventually abandoned for easier ways to run equipment. Many mills just decayed where they stood which seems to be the case with this wheel. Storms, especially a September 1, 1940 storm, demolished the remaining mills as well as bridges and mill dams in our area. The last mill in Gloucester County was this mill, Oliphant's Mill, south of Swedesboro along Kings Highway. Samuel Morgan's will mentioned his grist mill. Samuel Oliphant purchased the mill in 1871. It operated until 1937. In 1964, the mill was dismantled and moved to Smithville in Atlantic County. There you may see Gloucester County's last standing mill reconstructed. It needs some help"
http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMGNF9_Oliphant_Grist_Mill_at_Smithville_Village_Greene_Smithville_NJ

Yes, indeed, it does need some help, in fact the wheel is now gone which was there the last time I visited Smithville.  I can only hope it was removed for repair and will be returned.  Speaking of mills however, I had the great good fortune to see two in operation.  While at a hsitory symposium at Walnford, I saw their functioning grist mill in operation and when I visited the Daniel Boone homestead in Pennsylvania, I saw a very primitive small one saw mill in operation.  Every since I was a child and had one of those tin bucket water wheels for the beach, I have been fascinated with waterwheel technology.

Also it was a lovely day at Smithville and I enjoyed the many saved historic buildings.  Tomorrow, I'll post one of the little red schoolhouse of 1871. 
Happy Trails!  Jo Ann

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