York Town Square

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Researcher leaves detailed files on more than 300 York and Adams mills

Workers are dismantling the Felton Mill after it was discovered to be unstable and concerned many in that southeastern York County borough as a fire hazard. (See additional photos below.) Background posts: Glen Rock Mill Inn: ‘They are happy to see it open again’ and Part of York County’s past, Biesecker Mill, goes on the auction block and Pioneering sisters operated York County grist mill near Cross Roads.

The Felton Mill draws draws attention to the heyday of those water-powered buildings on nearly every stream of size in this region.
Thanks to the efforts of researcher Grant Voaden, more than 270 York County mills and 50 in Adams County are documented.
His work rests in a four-draw filing cabinet at the York County Heritage Trust archives, 250 E. Market St., York… .

In its day, the Felton Mill also attracted customers as a gas station.
Archivist Lila Fourhman-Shaull noted that each file varies in depth, and the archives have kept Voaden’s numbering system in place. Voaden created a worksheet that he used in his research.
The following is edited bio sheet put forth at the time of a past exhibit of a collection of Voaden’s photos at the trust:

Grant Voaden was born near Toronto, Canada in 1902. His father was a teacher and his mother was the daughter of a farmer. Christened Harvey Valper Grant Voaden, a name chosen by his mother, he attended schools near Hamilton, Ontario. As a student in the Hydraulic Engineering program at the University of Toronto, Grant became interested in turbine design. Following his graduation in 1925, his professor advised him to seek employment at S. Morgan Smith in York, PA. Hired by the company that year, he remained there until his retirement in 1968. During that time, he served as Chief Test Engineer and Assistant Chief Engineer.
As a hobby Grant liked to photograph York County mills and dams connecting with his engineering background. As he photographed these mills, he compiled accompanying information with the hope of publishing a book. Unfortunately, he did not fulfill that wish but then gave this massive collection here, where it is now available for research in the Library/Archives.

This wooden wheel came to light during the dismantling process.