The Mills

Tookany Creek and its tributaries run through most of Cheltenham and in the early years provided a lifeline for the Township’s early settlers. Dams along the creek supplied waterpower for mills. The millers and their descendants have left their legacy in the streets and schools that bear their names. “The first mills in Cheltenham were grist mills used by the neighboring farmers to grind their grain into meal or flour. Later, fulling mills were established to clean and stretch cloth woven from wool yard spun locally. When the Industrial Revolution came to the United States in the early 1800’s the mills in Cheltenham slowly converted to the manufacture of various types of small tools and steel products.”

“The history of these mills attests to the large role played by Tookany Creek in making Cheltenham an important industrial community in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Water power was the main source of energy in those days and Cheltenham was fortunate in its availability.”

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