In the late 18th century, the Endless Mountains of northeast Pennsylvania were part of the rugged, unsettled frontier. As fertile farmland became harder to find in New England and other new states of the U.S.A., young families traveled west to find new lands to settle and farm.
Beginning in the 1790's settlers from New England arrived in this area, hewing rough cabins in the unbroken forests and clearing fields to till. As settlements grew, roads were cut, making the journey easier for new arrivals. Taverns quickly appeared, to provide hospitality to those passing through or planning to settle. Soon sawmills were erected to provide building materials to the growing communities.
One such sawmill was built by John Belknap, circa 1820's, on the stream that is now known as Mylert Creek, where Old Mill Village now stands. Belknap's mill was also on the Great Bend-Cohochton Turnpike, which connected this area with the Delaware River, and points east. With increased traffic on the turnpike, other businesses, such as a blacksmith shop and wagon shop, were built nearby on the property. The stone foundations and the ruins of Belknap's mill and dam are still to be seen. While nothing remains of the other original buildings, the grounds of Old Mill Village are an authentic and appropriate setting for the mission of the museum to be fulfilled.
In 1959, the New Milford area prepared a vast celebration. That year marked the centennial year since the incorporation of the Borough of New Milford in 1859. A renewed spirit of pride in the town and it's heritage spread througout the community.
After the parades and ceremonies were over, many people wished to continue to encourage the spirit of historic pride. These people formed the Endless Mountains Historical Society, and through their efforts, a vast project was undertaken. Their vision was of a place where the crafts, artifacts and heritage of bygone days could be brought back to life. A place where visitors could learn what life was like for those first brave settlers. A place like a village. The vision was to become Old Mill Village.
The land was donated for the project, and soon buildings were being moved onto it. Antiquities and artifacts were collected for display. Local artisans recruited to demonstrate the arts and skills of earlier days. Public events were hosted to the delight of all who visited.
Today, the site is owned and administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. It is maintained and operated by the Associate Members of Old Mill Village, a local non-profit organization of dedicated volunteers -- the legacy of the Endless Mountains Historical Society. These people are now the keepers of the vision of Old Mill Village, and the spirit of pride in our heritage is still strong.