NOTE:Not presently open to the public
Montgomery County Division of Parks, Trails & Historic Sites
Phone: (610) 278-3555
We would like to thank the 45 volunteers from the community and the Timber Framers Guild, who came to participate in a Community Build Workshop that taught how to hand cut timbers to rebuild the saw mill structure at Sunrise Mill. Based on measured drawings that were made in the 1980s, before the original structure was taken down because of its poor condition, this 16' by 48' open structure held vertical saw sash equipment to cut logs into lumber from the 1760s to the 1930s. The completed structure will house some of the original saw mill equipment that was saved and will be re-installed.
Sunrise Mill is a 200-acre site located on the Swamp Creek, straddling the Townships of Upper Frederick, Lower Frederick, and Limerick, PA. The centerpiece of this park is the building complex, featuring a sawmill, gristmill, house, barn, dam, and bridge. The earliest building, the gristmill, was constructed in 1767 by Michael Krause and Yost Bitting, and then enlarged several times. The sawmill was added a few years later as more land needed to be cleared and lumber was needed for buildings.
The barn was built in 1795 and still bears the initials of owners Jacob and Mary Shoemaker above the bay door from that era. The house, added to the site circa 1828, looks out over the beautiful Swamp Creek valley to the unique hemlock groves on the south banks. Downstream, the 1845 stone arch bridge was once a part of Old Nieffer Road that brought traffic directly through the property. Together, these structures create a sterling example of agriculture and industry in Southeast Pennsylvania, with elements representing 250 years of rural life in the region.
Sunrise Mill history
Scope of Collection
NEW - To search images of our collection online - click here: Sunrise Mill Collection Online The online access will grow as we add more images.
Who was Chevalier Jackson? - Doctor Chevalier Quixote Jackson was a world-famous physician renowned for his pioneering work in laryngology and endoscopy. He achieved unparalleled success in the field of foreign body removal, inventing and using hundreds of medical devices to safely remove items accidentally swallowed or inhaled by patients, primarily young children. He was also a strong public health advocate, and was central to the campaign to pass the Federal Caustic Poison Act of 1927, mandating for the first time that poisonous household products be labeled as a swallowing hazard. In 1918, the family of Dr. Chevalier Jackson purchased the property as a healthful retreat from the city air of Philadelphia due to the Doctor’s tuberculosis. For forty years, he commuted from Sunrise Mill into Philadelphia by car and train. He was very protective of the privacy of his family home, which he shared with his wife Alice Bennet Jackson, son Chevalier L. Jackson (another highly accomplished laryngologist), sister-in-law Josephine White, mother-in-law Susan White, and several caretakers.
His granddaughter sold the property to Montgomery County in 1971. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The County continues to care for the buildings, which will be integrated into a new trail system for the enjoyment of the public. Check back for more information as the project progresses.