Saturday, October 16, 2010

Jerusalem Mill

Jersalem Mill, a Quaker village established in 1772, is located in Maryland's Harford County.

Business partners Isaiah Linton and David Lee set up several grist mills along the Little Gunpowder River in the second half of the 18th-century. Buildings sprang up over subsequent years to create a village surrounding Jerusalem Mill.

A gun shop, located behind the mill, is believed to have produced muskets for the Maryland militia during the Revolutionary War. In later years, the building was used for coopering, housing, and rental space.

The blacksmith shop is across the street from the mill, a general store is just a short walk away, a springhouse is tucked away in a nearby field, and Jericho Covered Bridge is an easy quarter mile walk down the road.

A few other buildings in the restored village are privately owned and are not open to the public.

The mill ceased operations in 1961 when the property was purchased by the state of Maryland. It then became part of Gunpowder Falls State Park. Extensive renovations to the mill, gunshop, and blacksmith shop, all of which had fallen into disrepair, brought them back to life.

We visited the village on Colonial Craftsmen Weekend, where reenactors pitched tents, demonstrated traditional crafts, and sold handmade products.

I learned that walnut hulls cooked in water create a natural stain. Yellow is the easiest color to achieve with natural ingredients and green is the most difficult.

When making lye soap, the consistency is correct when an egg will float with just a quarter size section of its shell showing above the liquid.

And I learned that wax must be cooked at just the right temperature—not too hot and not too cool—in order for it to adhere to the string that's dipped into it to form a candle.

The two men who were working in the woodshop were very friendly and were happy to talk with another woodworker.
If you plan to visit, you can find Art Benser, the master woodworker, in the shop every Sunday, unless Christmas falls on that day.


Vic Hubbard said...

what a cool village. I could be from that age. I'm sure I'm no taller than the gentleman with the musket.

archiphile said...

Neat trip, I will have to put that one on the list. I have one question, was the blacksmith's shop in operation? Did you get to see them work. I am first and foremost a blacksmith and I am interested in that too. Just curious that's all. Thanks for sharing.

Kari Hultman said...

Vic, I don't remember him being short, but by the angle of my camera, it looks like I'm a little taller. And I'm not that tall!

Archiphile, the blacksmith shop is operational. You might want to call ahead to make sure the blacksmith is in before you visit.

Unknown said...

Will have to add this to the "to visit" list, looks neat. One question - was the gunsmith shop also run by Quakers? I know they would have used rifles for hunting, but being pacifists, I would think they would not have made weapons for wartime.

Kari Hultman said...

According to the write-up on their website, it was Quaker David Lee who ran the gun shop. I was surprised to read that, too.

The gun shop is not set up as a gun shop, by the way. They just have a table and open hearth in there. You can go upstairs and look around, but I think it would be cool if they'd have a gunsmith in there.

Woodbloke said...

Hi Kari - nice to see this sort of thing on your side of the pond. Unless it's me (which it probably is) we don't seem to have this sort of thing over here very much (plenty of other stuff) but complete craft comunities are a bit of a rarity - Rob

Gye Greene said...

Green being more difficult: How about a freshly-mown lawn - then wrap your children in white cotton? ;)


Gye Greene said...

In the woodworking shop, it seems like the roof pitch isn't steep enough: the shingles appear to be lying horizontal -- won't shed the rainwater properly.

Love the saw tote, though: I'm surprised you didn't declare an intention to make one! :)


Kari Hultman said...

Rob, this was a special event where reenactors set up tents. Normally, you can tour the buildings and talk to the blacksmith and woodworkers, but craftspeople are only there on special occasions. However, we do seem to have a lot of these types of events in our neck of the woods.

GG, that made me laugh out loud. :D
The woodworking shop was just a lean-to until they decided to frame it in. You should see the roof on one part of our house--it's almost dead flat. Makes no sense at all. I definitely love the saw tote! It would be cool to make one that hangs on the wall as storage AND converts to a carrier.

Gye Greene said...

Saw tote, wall + carrier: Or, one that you carry on your back, a la Ash (from Army of Darkness).

Kinda like this --