Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Rose Valley Mills a look back, and lots going on this month


These houses still stand on Rose Valley Road just north of Brookhaven Rd. They were originally built as mill worker housing



LOCATED ON Ridley Creek in Nether Providence, are worthy of prominent mention among the recent improvements of our county.  The mill is in charge of Antrim Osborne & Son, the father being the proprietor and financial partner, the son the general partner.  All the buildings of Rose Valley have been erected since 1862.  In that year the mill was erected on the site of Park Shea’s old paper mill.  It is a stone house 30 by 40 feet, with dry, dye, and other houses attached.  It runs 60 looms, and turns off from 50,000 to 55,000 yards per month of a light and good grade of cotton jeans.  Two boilers are used, one a tubular, the other plain, with a 30 horse power capacity; these do the dyeing of and heat the mill.  The entire machinery is now run by a new double acting turbine wheel, made by James Leffell & Company, of Springfield, Ohio.  This wheel is 40 inches in diameter; the waterfall is about 12 feet, the wheel using about half the creek.  It gives much better speed and greater regularity than the overshot wheel it displaced, has been running about two weeks, and is considered a complete success.  It was put in by Eber Rigby, the carpenter regularly employed by the firm.  Everything in and about the mill is in the best of order, and we believe that in cleanliness it will compare favorably with any in the county or state.  Between fifty and sixty operatives and workmen are employed.  The machinery was all newly put up in 1862, but the last year displaced about one-third of it with yet later improvements.  It was all made by Jenks, of Bridesburg, well known to our manufacturers.  The firm is about to add a new dry house, 25 by 40 feet, two stories high; and contemplate the erection of twelve new houses for the use of the operatives, next spring and summer.  The homestead dwelling is of stone, upon a high hill near the mill, 38 feet front by 33 feet deep with kitchen, 28 by 16 feet.  In front is a fine lawn planted with ornamental trees and shrubbery.  Water is forced to it by a wheel, a distance of 500 feet from a spring of CHALYBEATE – water impregnated with particles of iron – healthy and excellent taste.  The barn is a very fine structure 56 by 50 feet; with a wagon shed and carriage house attached 51 feet long – ice house underneath.  On the opposite hill has just been completed a handsome frame dwelling, the property of William H. Osborne, and, we presume, to be occupied by him, when ‘in the dim distant future,’ he persuades the companionship of the one of the gentler six.  Rose Valley can boast over a dozen buildings beside the mill, all erected during and since the year 1862 by Antrim Osborn, the entire work being under the charge of Eber Rigby, a carpenter and mechanic of the first class.  It is said of him that in all this work, as well as in the erection and repair of the mill, mansion, &c., he has yet to make the first mistake.  His is a record that any man should be proud of.  The Valley and its surroundings will someday be picturesque and beautiful.  The Osborne’s have only fairly ‘broke ground’ in the way of improvement and a few years continuance in the way they have begun will make it as fine a spot as any of which our county can boast.  The hill bordering the eastern side of the valley was only recently a thick wood; it is now a clearing, and will doubtless soon bear the same marks of thrift and improvement as the one opposite, containing the homestead, &c.  Four years have done much for Rose Valley under the direction of men who take pride in their work, and who seem to be winning the success which their skill and enterprise deserve.

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 The DCHPN, the organization supports the 80+ groups & sites that preserve the rich history of Delaware Co., educate our citizens, and pay it forward to future generations. We are a volunteer group that exists to provide an email distribution list (listserv) for facilitating discussion about events, issues relevant to history and preservation in and around Delaware County, a comprehensive listing of related events and happenings and a directory of all organizations and historic sites in Delaware County. To join the listserve follow this link: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/DCHPN/info.

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