East Brandywine Township
East Brandywine Township municipal offices are located at 1214 Horseshoe Pike, Downingtown PA 19335; phone: 610-269-8230.
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Historic Bridge Mill Farm
Bridge Mill Farm, located along Marshall Road on the northwest side of Culbertson Run, was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Text, below, is excerpted from a copy of the original nomination document.
Bridge Mill Farm was ... established as a self-sufficient, family-run farmstead; the complex was part of a region of small farms which provided goods to both their local communities as well as Philadelphia. Throughout the 19th century Bridge Mill was able to adapt to the changing times both commercially and technologically, yet remained essentially unchanged. With 20th century innovations in transportation and farming techniques, many of southeastern Pennsylvania farms similar to Bridge Mill have been replaced by shopping malls, apartment complexes, and residential developments. Fortunately, Bridge Mill has been able to avoid such a fate and still offers a rare insight into our past.
In Pennsylvania, small, self-sufficient farms played an essential role in the economic and social development of the state. Once prevalent in the southeastern counties, farmsteads like Bridge Mills provided basic goods to local residents as well as foodstuffs necessary for the continued growth of Philadelphia. In the past half-century the number of these farm complexes has steadily dwindled ...
From the day Major John Culbertson returned home from the Revolutionary War to work his 130 acre Patent in Chester County until the day the Marshall family sold the acreage in 1980, the Bridge Mill property provided almost all the needs of the farm family that operated it, and, served the surrounding community as well. As early as 1790 a sawmill and fulling mill operated at the site where the current mill now stands. In about 1800 the building was converted into a woolen factory. The woolen factory was closed in 1853 at a time when larger, centralized textile factories made small mills obsolete. After re-establishing a saw and clover mill, the business was expanded in the 1880's to include a steam-powered creamery. The creamery sent daily shipments of its "Yellow Rose" butter by train to Philadelphia. The ice used to pack the butter was cut from the mill pond during the winter, levered by tools which are still at the mill, transported through the millrace, and stored in an ice house that was then on the property.
The creamery was supplied by local farmers who could produce 50 to 200 pounds of milk per day. The farmers brought their cream to the mill and after returned home with grain or seed ground at the mill. The need to reach the Bridge Mill Creamery every day created a demand for a new, more reliable bridge across Culbertson Run. In 1903, 45 men from the area signed a petition which led to the construction of a stone, double arch bridge. The bridge is still in use today. (The bridge is listed separately on the National Register. -- RJG) The mill burned in 1912, but was rebuilt and operated solely as a creamery until about 1920.