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Kirks Mill Historic District


The Kirk's Mill Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1] Adaptation copyright © 2008, The Gombach Group.

Description

At the extreme southern end of Lancaster County is one of the earliest settlements of the region, located along an old road that originally ran from Market Street in Philadelphia to the Susquehanna River and beyond. Built in the mid-eighteenth century, Kirks Mills is a small rural village which developed around the grist mill of Jacob Kirk. The community has maintained its rural character even today. The earliest structures date to before Jacob Kirk's ownership which began in 1810 although it was the development of the Kirk holdings which caused the area to flourish. The only early structure missing from the community is a general store which was directly across the road from Jacob Kirk Mansion. This structure was destroyed by fire. Only, two structures have been built in the community since the turn of the century.

Building Inventory

"Patience" - Jacob Kirk's Mansion House
This three story gable roof brick house measures 38'5" by 47'9" and has a two story ell on the rear. The roof is of slate and the brick is laid in Flemish bond. Windows in the house have plain frames and sills and are 9-over-6. A full porch is located on the front and right facades. There are two large walk-in fireplaces one with a stone sink and a bee-hive bake oven. This home was built circa 1752 by Edward Griest. Jacob Kirk purchased the house in 1810 from heirs of Edward Griest, and was the Kirk Mansion house.

Brick Mill - Kirks Mill
This two and one-half story Flemish bond brick mill has a slate gable roof and measures 40'5" by 28'2". Windows in the mill are 9-over-6 on the first floor and 6-over-6 on the second. The mill has a stone foundation and evidences of the race can still be seen although the wheel is no longer present. The interior was remodeled circa 1940 and has been used as a home since then. The mill stone was removed from the first floor and placed in the basement. This mill was in operation when purchased by Jacob Kirk in 1810.

Brick House
This two and one-half story brick house was also owned by Jacob Kirk. It has a slate gable roof and measures 27' by 16'2". Windows in the house are 6-over-6. The house is laid in Flemish bond and a full length pent roof porch and additional room covers the first-story of the front facade. The ground level has a walk-in fireplace and root cellar. This house was listed as part of the Kirk Estate and was probably used as a miller's or tenant house.

Log Swisser Barn
This one and one-half story log barn was converted into a house in 1975. The barn has a stone foundation and logs extend all the way to the roof line. The roof is of wood shingles and the new wing is covered with aluminum siding. The log and stone barn was part of the Jacob Kirk property and was listed on the 1815 tax records.

Joseph Reynolds House
The original section of this house measures 28' by 18'6" and is brick. This section was built in 1825 by Josiah and Elenar Reynolds. When the addition to the left was added the whole structure was stuccoed.

Eastland Friends Meeting and Tenant House
This one story stone meeting house measures 45'2" by 28'2" and has a gable roof covered with slate. Six bays by two bays the stone meetinghouse has two panelled doors with four light transoms. A one long gable roof section has been added to the rear. The Eastland Friends Meeting was constructed circa 1798. Associated with Meetinghouse is a 2 1/2 story stucco tenant house.

Samuel Coale House (Stonehedge)
This farm complex contains a two story L-shaped brick house, a cross-gable frame barn and wagon shed. This house is named for Samuel Coale, a tanner, who bought the property from Richard Reynolds (also a tanner) in 1822. It is felt that Coale built the stone house. The house has a gable roof and full length one story porches on the front and side facades.

Ephriam B. Lynch House
This two and one-half story frame house was built in the 1890's by Ephriam Lynch, a builder. The cross-gable structure is a local adaptation of the Victorian style and measures 30' by 38'. Two one-story porches are located on the front and rear facades. Decorative shingles and clapboard decorate the upper levels while the lower levels have been covered with aluminum in 1976.

Henry Reynolds House
This two and one-half story stone house measures 44'8" by 24'1'' and was built in two stages. This house was part of the Henry Reynolds patent and the original section dates from the late 1700's (circa 1774). The interior of this home differs from other homes in Kirk's Mills in that the Scotch-Welsh influence rather than the English is prevalent. Mantles in this house are all over 5' with one measuring 5'7" in height.

Manuel Reynolds House
This house measures 38'3" by 19'1" and is a 2-1/2 story stuccoed stone structure. The house is five bays by two with 6-over-6 and 9-over-6 light windows and a full length pent roof porch. The house has a gable slate covered roof and two interior chimneys located in the gable ends. A one story stuccoed addition was made to the house in 1976.

Log House
This 20' by 15'2", one and one-half story log house was listed on the 1815 tax records as belonging to Jacob Kirk. The log structure has a stone foundation and a gable roof. Circa 1900 a frame structure was added to the left of the log house.

Eastland School House
Built in 1838, this one and one-half story brick schoolhouse measures 36'2" by 28'2". This gable roof school has a pent roof porch and 6-over-1 windows. In 1954 the school was bought by Luigi Rist, artist and print maker, who added a two window dormer. The present owner added the second dormer. The building has decorative brick work above the windows and in the gable ends.

Patrick Brown House (Intrusion)
This brick ranch style house measures 24' by 56' and is the only house in Kirks Mills built after 1945. This and the Conrad-Shuler Home are the only intrusions in the district.

Conrad-Shuler Home (Intrusion)
This one and one-half story frame bungalow was built in 1945. This bungalow which is typical of the World War II period was constructed by Harry Conrad.

Significance

This small secluded village in southern Lancaster County was originally part of a patent granted to Edward Griest and Hughes in 1752. This area of southern Lancaster County was involved in boundary disputes between William Penn and Lord Baltimore. Because of these disorders, Proclamations were issued by Penn and Baltimore in 1735, 1736 and 1737 which relieved persons living in the area from paying money into their respective land offices until the boundaries were settled. Therefore the Kirks Mills land was not officially patented until after 1800.

Edward Griest the original land owner, died in 1803 having written his will in 1800. It was witnessed by Henry and Sarah Reynolds. Edward Griest's will appoints his son Job Griest and his "kind neighbor Manuel Reynolds" sole executors of his last Will and Testament in which he leaves his son Job "the small place or parcel of land that I live on bounded by the lands of Manuel Reynolds, Roger Kirk, Joseph Haines, Rueben Reynolds and Henry Reynolds Sr. supposed to be 76 acres." Job Griest did make an application for a Patent in 1804 and was required to pay interest from the year 1752. Therefore this small community was in existence sometime before Jacob Kirk first inherited land in Little Britain Township in 1809.

Jacob Kirk became owner of the Brick Mill and house known as Patience and before his death in 1821 established the commercial operations of Kirks Mill and general store. During this period the community became a local commercial center. The mill became the focus of processing of agricultural products for use in the community and trade while the general store supplied the community with goods from outside the community.

The houses of Kirks Mill range from early Colonial to late Federal with the exception of the school house of 1838 and three other houses built by local builders which are good examples of the following periods 1990's, 1945 and 1976. The early use of brick for homes is common in this area and Kirks Mills offers a fine example of a rural community in Lancaster County of the early 1800's. Not only are the exteriors of the Kirks Mills homes well preserved but the interiors of many of these homes still contain original flooring, hardware, doors, fireplaces, bake ovens and also decorative features.

References

Ellis, Franklin and Samuel Evans. History of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Everts and Peck, 1883.

Carlson, Charles X. and Frederic S. Diein. Old Lancaster 1964.

Deed Books Lancaster County Courthouse.

  1. Jackson, Janet G., Kirk's Mill Historic District, nomination document, 1978, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Kirks Mill Historic District Map

Street Names
Honeysuckle Road • Kirks Mill Road • Sleepy Hollow Road

**Information is curated from a variety of sources and, while deemed reliable, is not guaranteed.
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