The Mill at Manor Falls, located just outside of Millersville and within driving minutes of Lancaster is a quintessential piece of Lancaster County history. The original grist mill was built on this site in 1771 and destroyed by fire in 1830. The following year, the mill was replaced with the structure that stands today. During the Civil War in the 1860s, the mill was used to produce flour for the Union Troops.
After the war had ended, the mill was purchased by Isaac W. Groff. Under Groff’s ownership, the mill was named Lake Mill and had been fitted with the latest machinery at the time. However, tragedy struck again as the mill was partially destroyed by fire in 1882. According to the Columbia Spy newspaper, with an estimated uninsured loss of $25,000. Mr. Groff had considered not rebuilding. It was determined the fire had been started by rioters from Lancaster, who had visited outlining buildings and lit fires to draw first responders away from the city so riots could proceed in the city.
The mill was finally restored in 1883 and was run by the Frantz family into the 1920s. During that time, the Frantzes had added a granary to the mill, producing 100 barrels of flour a day. However, the Frantz family lost the mill during the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
The mill changed from owner to owner throughout the next few decades and remained vacant until 1960 when it was sold to Guy and Sally Starry. In 1964, the Country Mill Restaurant opened. Operated by the Starrys’ daughter Anita and her husband Henry Emerich, the restaurant was known as a high-end restaurant with a French peasantry flair. Customers from all over flocked to the mill to dine and relax in the warm atmosphere.
When Hurricane Agnes hit the state in 1972, the lower level dining area and wine cellar were destroyed just days before its grand unveiling. The restaurant did recover and re-opened its doors after the storm; however, it was never as robust as it was previously. The Country Mill Restaurant closed in the mid-1980s.
The building had sat vacant for years after and fell into disrepair. Finally, in 2012, it was purchased by the Dombachs and restoration on the mill began in 2013.
Now fully restored to its former glory, the Mill at Manor Falls has become the ideal rustic, yet elegant wedding venue for any couple looking for that unique wedding location.
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