I know you probably won’t believe it, but this museum has free admission. They won’t even accept donations, if you can believe that! We were driving by, looking for canning equipment, when we decided to stop in and see this very pretty house/barn/mill. The parking is limited out front, you can just pull up right in front of the mill to park, if there’s room. Inside, a tour guide puts on a short video featuring Franklin Ressler, the adorable character that owned the mill until it’s closing in 1977. This mill dates from BEFORE the Civil War and the upper floors (of a later date, 1800’s) are built entirely of BLACK WALNUT, therefore they look as if they were installed just recently. Apparently, bugs are deterred from the potent smell (not noticeable to us tourists, but they know it’s not good to eat!) so the wood is pristine! The older part of the mill used grindstones, then graduated to steel blades and a roller mill for making white flour. The bran and germ started getting fed to the livestock….until they realized the animals were healthier than the humans!
The mill owners were very frugal and in addition to the mill, the Resslers were postmaster for the new town. The parents named the mill Mascot (you can head to the museum to find out WHY.) The area is now known as “Mascot” even though it is not officially a town. The government required that th
Before telephones, mother Ressler could ring this bell from the house to alert the men when dinner was ready or they were needed for something. Later, a phone was installed in the mill. Last, a phone was installed outside the back door of the house, so that neighbors could feel free to use the phone also, and is today still used by the Amish neighborhood for calls!
So why is admission FREE? Well, Franklin and his sister Anna were the only survivors of the family. Of the six kids, only one married, and that one had no children! On the video, Franklin talks about when he was a kid, he was given a job and paid a nickel. Then he said, “Where is that nickel? Well, I guess I still have it!” His parents taught all their to be frugal, and at the end of their lives, Franklin and Anna spent their last 10 years together at the mill preparing it as a museum. The museum is solely funded by their foundation! We could all use a bit of their money sense these days!
The house is also open for tours and a garden is to the side of the house. No pictures are allowed in the house, but it’s full of interesting things owned by the Resslers. Anna and Franklin pretty much left the house exactly as they had lived in it in the 1970’s. The house is approximately as old as the mill.
As usual, I will add a “what else to do in the area” for those that are local and can shop:
If you cross the major road (I think Hwy 772) next to the mill (stay on Stumptown Road, be careful crossing that road!!) keep driving, approximately a mile. On the right is a major tourist store with root beer, amish knick-knacks, and baked goods. If you are around on a week day and like to can your own foods, need canning supplies, or maybe you milk a family cow and want plastic jugs, glass gallon or half gallon jars, etc….. You are at THE place for canning supplies in Pennsylvania! Excellent wholesale prices! The store out front is for tourists, lots of buses go by and personally, it’s not my thing. But to the left of the parking lot is the canning store. There, they will let you order however much you want. I pretty much drooled over the sheer multitude of canning supplies. *sigh*