Kenderdine Mill

The Kenderdine Mill, at the intersection of Keith Valley and Davis Grove Roads in Horsham, is a beautiful and well-preserved example of an early 18th century mill and industrial complex. The mill was built in 1735 and remained in operation until 1917. It was later restored by Ronald Mintz and was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1992, Registry (#91002011) The mill and complex are currently a private residence.

The mill was built by Joseph Kenderdine who later sold a half interest to his brother Thomas. Following Thomas' death in 1779 the mill continued operation under a younger Joseph Kenderdine until 1796 when it was sold to brother-in-law Joseph Paul139 p34. Paul and his son James operated the mill until 1810 when they sold it to John Shay. Shay enlarged the Joseph Kenderdine house and built a new residence nearer the mill at about this time. He later added a third story to the mill itself and made modern improvements to the millworks. Later in the 1800s it was owned by Amos Ely139 p23 and but in the early 1900s it was the property of the Hagartys who were related to the Kenderdines.,

Exterior of the c1735 Kenderdine Mill

Richard Kenderdine purchased 250 acres of wilderness for £125 in May 1713 from Samuel Carpenter along Park Creek 3/4 of a mile long by 1/2 mile wide139 p23 bounded by what would become Horsham Road to the west, to the south by Babylon Road and north to Park Creek. The eastern border is described by Smith 99 p52 by the borders with other landowners. Richard died shortly after and the land was left to his son Richard. At some point between 1718 and 1731 Richard (II) sold 50 acres of the land to the north to Sir William Keith which became part of Keith's Fountain Low Plantation (Graeme Park). The log cabin he built and lived in stood until 1850. Richard(II) passed away in 1733.

Richard's brother Joseph built the original grist mill on the property between 1734 and 1736. Access between Fountain Low/Graeme Park was via a trail which would become Keith Valley Road and access to Horsham Road was via a private road they built to Babylon Road called Kenderdine Lane or Mill Road92. In 1745 this would become part of Davis Grove Road. Horsham Road was extended from Stump Road to Norristown Road partly based on need for access to the new mill.99 p11

Joseph, in 1736, also purchased 151.5 acres on the west side of Horsham Road - according to Smith - to provide a more abundant supply of water to the mill. In 1746 Joseph sold a half-interest in the mill to his brother Thomas and by the time of their deaths, Joseph in 1769 and Thomas in 1779, both had acquired considerable wealth.99 p55-56

After Joseph's death in 1769 per Smith99 p56 on 2d month, 23, 1778 per Kenderdine139 p22), son-in-law Joseph Paul purchased the 36 acres surrounding the mill from the other heirs. Between 1779 when Thomas Kenderdine died and 1796 the mill was owned by Joseph and Jacob Kenderdine and operated by Joseph. They sold their interest in the mill to Paul in 1796. Paul's son James helped him work the mill until 1810 when they sold the mill and 48 acres to John Shay, Shay died in 1819 and bequeathed most of the land including the Joseph Kenderdine House to his son Jesse and 5 acres with the mill to his son John.

photo of Wooden Mill Gears

Smith 99 p55 states that Joseph Kenderdine moved to the Horsham property in 1738 but his place of residence was not known. It may have been where a foundation had been discovered (pre 1943) a few yards south of the 'Alcorn House' but Living Places92 reports that this house was likely built by Richard Kenderdine and pre-dates the construction of the mill. It was added on to in the early 19th century, probably by John Shay.

photo of residence at Kenderdine mill

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The following is mostly taken from the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for the Kenderdine Mill Complex dated 12/10/1991(92)

  • the original fieldstone mill building (third story added in the 19th century) with its attendant raceways
  • a mill owner's house dating from the early 19th century when John Shay purchased the property
  • stable and carriage house constructed in the middle of the 19th century by the Shays

The mill complex was positioned in a shallow valley where two small waterways could supply a millpond and dam and millrace. These two water sources assured a sufficient head to operate the mill. The site was linked to Graeme Park, which was opened in 1736, by a path which later became the Keith Valley Road. A generation later the Davis Grove Road was opened on the south providing a more direct link to the site.

Across Keith Valley Road is an earlier, fieldstone house constructed in two phases which began as the original house of the Richard Kenderdine family. It later became the home of Richard's son, Joesph Kenderdine, a millwright and the probable builder of the mill. (This building, the Joseph Kenderdine House was razed in 2012.)

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