Morris Arboretum

Morris Arboretum

Connecting people, plants, and place.

University of Pennsylvania

Notice: Our website is currently undergoing maintenance and information may not be current. For assistance please contact info@morrisarboretum.org.

Springfield Mills

Springfield Mills at Morris Arboretum



Springfield Mills is open for demonstrations during Mill Demonstration Days and at other times by scheduling a group tour.

2019 Mill Demonstration Day Schedule

Sundays: May 19, June 16, July 21, August 18, September 15 | 1:00pm - 4:00pm & the Mill closing day on October 20 with Bloomfield Farm Day | 12:00pm - 4:00pm.

Included with regular admission.

Opening Day May 19

Join the celebration from 1:00pm - 5:00pm at Morris Arboretum’s Springfield Mills’ first open demonstration day of the season. This historic mill has been restored and is stone-grinding corn for meal and flour. Come and explore revolutionary technology, local history and a beautiful setting along the Wissahickon Creek. Bring a picnic and relax on the lawn while enjoying live jazz performed by the Joseph Block Trio at 2:00pm and 3:00pm.

The grist mill is located directly across from the Arboretum’s main entrance on Northwestern Avenue. It offers visitors an interactive experience of a working 19th century mill. Visit the historic creek-side flour mill to watch one-ton millstones grind corn and wheat kernels and see 160 year old machinery transport and sift the grind to produce meal and flour. The flour is used to bake muffins on site. Kids and adults will also enjoy grinding their own flour on the pedal powered mill.



Springfield Mills Tours

In addition to mill demonstration days, group tours can be arranged. Current tours include History of Bloomfield Farm and the Historic 1761 Grist Mill (60 minutes). Please fill out our Group Tour Request Form and a member of our staff will contact you to arrange a date.


Springfield Mills History

Springfield Mills and the Miller’s Cottage date back to 1761 and are the oldest architectural features at the Morris Arboretum. Springfield Mills contains the most complete inventory of original flour mill works and related machinery of any mill in the area. The mill, with its Oliver Evans mill works, provides a unique view of 19th and early 20th century agriculture and milling in the Wissahickon Valley. Volunteers and staff are actively engaged in restoring the mill with the goal of renewing its water-powered operation. Springfield Mills is a contributing structure in the Morris Arboretum’s National Register of Historic Places listing.

The connections between food consumption, food production and land use is hard to imagine in a society where supermarkets with have become our main link to food. The role of mills in communities is largely forgotten or taken for granted. Springfield Mills creates a visual narrative of the social, economic and technological role mills play in food production and how important land conservation and plant diversity are to assuring we have food on the table.

Farmers came from many miles to have their grain ground into flour.The Flourtown Village was the great wheat market of the eastern counties of the state around and north of Philadelphia.

The mill used water power for an array of functions including sawing timber, grinding flour and animal feed, generating electricity, running agricultural machines and pumping water to irrigate the fields.


1761
1854
1890s
1907
1914
1932
1970s
2008
2011
2015


Grist Mill Grist Mill Grist Mill Grist Mill Grist Mill Grist Mill Grist Mill Grist Mill

A Working Piece of History

Watch a typical mill demonstration in this 2 minute video.

Growing, Grinding, Baking & Eating Corn at Morris Arboretum

Read more »


Volunteer at the Mill

The Run-of-the-Mill volunteers are restoring Springfield Mills to water-powered operation. The mill stones and water-powered machinery are over a century old. Volunteers work on the mill on the second Saturday of every month and operate the mill during public events at Bloomfield. Activities include carpentry, masonry, equipment restoration and general clean up. Research, documentation and education volunteers are welcome.

Contact: Bob Gutowski - gutowski@upenn.edu or 215.247.5777 ext.132


Mills of the Wissahickon Valley

The historic Wissahickon Valley was home to over sixty mills from colonial times to WWII. Springfield Mills is one of four remaining Mills of the Wissahickon you can tour or visit. Explore all the mills of the Wissahickon.

Links to other local mills


Questers Support Restoration of Springfield Mills

On May 5th, 2014 the Questers Fairwold Chapter with Pennsylvania State and International Questers presented a $7,000 grant to the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania for continued restoration of Springfield Mills. The Fairwold Questers have supported restoration of the Morris Arboretum’s grist mill since 2008. Previous grants restored the mill windows and the turbine pit bridge. Both were critical elements in re-opening the mill for tours. Most recently the historic, two-ton mill stones grinding surfaces were refinished by an expert millwright and are grinding corn meal after 60 years of inactivity. This new grant will help restore the wooden “blow-out” wall facing the Wissahickon Creek. The grant was presented by Vickie Sierchio, Fairwold Quester President.
Questers is an international organization with 101 chapters in PA and chapters in 41 states and Ontario.  Questers supports conservation and restoration of historical sites and objects. For information, go to www.PAQuesters.com and www.questers1944.org.

Back to top


Awakening the Senses

Enhance your Arboretum experience, either onsite or when planning a visit:

Arboretum Adventure

Arboretum Adventure, this family activity explores the grounds and shares plant science lessons along the way.

Collection Connection, search the Arboretum’s collection records to locate or learn about favorite plants.

Tours, choose from among a selection of guided pathways through the grounds.

Wi-Fi, connect with the Arboretum, or share photos on social media at hotspots located throughout the garden.


Supported By

The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage

Back to top

Group Tour Request Form

Contact Information

* * * * *

*

*

* * *

Anticipated Attendance (If none, enter 0)

* * * *

Visit Details

* * * *

* * *

×

Alerts & Updates

Out on a Limb will be closed for maintenance Tuesday, May 28th through Thursday, May 30th. Thanks for your patience!

The Arboretum is open as usual. Click here for hours.

Garden Railway trains are not running Saturday, September 8th and Sunday, September 9th due to inclement weather.

Please note: The Rose Garden is closed for maintenance every Thursday morning until noon.

Weather conditions may limit garden access to certain features even if the garden is open – please check the web site or call (215) 247-5777 for updates before visiting. Our visitors’ safety in the garden is our top priority. Therefore when inclement weather is predicted, we will make decisions about closing the garden accordingly.

×