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Village Map and Building Descriptions

  If you'll take a look at the map above, you'll see that Millbrook Village is a fairly large place. From the school and cemetery (which are just off the map on the right) to the sugar shack and cider mill (shown on the left edge of the map)is a walk of almost a mile. It's relatively flat and a nice walk along a gravel roadbed next to the pristine waters of Van Campen's Brook. What follows is a description of each of the buildings.

Bldg. No.




The Spangenberg Cabin - The log cabin adjacent to the parking lot was erected by Lester Spangenberg. He dismanted a log barn and used the materials to construct this residence. It is one of the few log cabins remaining in the area.


The Wagon Shop - A wagon shop was a normal part of a thriving village of the mid-1800's. Here, wagons, carts and buggies were built, repaired and rebuilt. This building, the result of an old fashioned barn raising held in 1988, was built using the posts and beams from an old barn which stood on a nearby farm. It was near this site that the original Millbrook wagon shop stood over a century ago. Restrooms and a public telephone are located here.


The Trauger House, one of the original structures in the village, stands where it was built over a centruy ago. As in other communities, the prosperity of the families of Millbrook varied. George Trauger, a prosperous businessman and farmer, could afford to live in more comfort than some of his neighbors, the Traugers eventually left Millbrook for communities offering more opportunities and services.


The Trauger Barn - A family type barn for the Traugers. We know it was once used to house chickens and maybe a horse. George Trauger wasn't really a farmer, he was a storekeeper, but we all know that every man needs a place to get away from the Missus.


The blacksmith was among the first tradesman to set up shop. Even during the summer, he stood at a hot fire, working the metal with heavy tools. He repaired tools, sharpened blades, and turned bars of iron into hinges, horseshoes, and other items for the community. With the rise of factories, people could purchase new goods more cheaply than repairing old ones, and the business of the blacksmith was often reduced to little more than the shoeing of horses. This building was built near the site of the original blacksmith shop.


Cider Mill - Most farms had small orchards with apples as the primary fruit. Apples could be stored in cellars or dried for even longer keeping. however, most apples were made into cider, a common beverage for the family. Cider was also used in the making of applebutter, household vinegar, and sometimes hard cider, applejack or wine. The farmer brought his apples to the cider mill to be ground into pomace and pressed. The resulting sweet cider was pumped into barrels to be sold or taken home. This building replaced another building on the same site in a barn-raising style event held through Millbrook Days 1998. Most of the wood in the building was cut and fitted by Millbrook volunteers.


Sugar Shack - The boiled-down sap of the sugar maple tree supplied the delicious maple syrup and maple sugar used year round as a sweetener and treat. In late winter the sap was collected from trees in the area and slowly cooked in the large pans or vats until much of the water was evaporated. Approximately 35 gallons of sap would be needed to produce just one gallon of syrup.


General Store - The village store was vital to the community's economic life. Items the farmers could not grow or make themselves were often obtained at the store. Little cash was available and the storekeeper often bartered with his customers. Customers traded their farm products, hand-produced goods, and services for the hardware, groceries, dry goods, medicines and over 400 other items that filled the shelves. The Post Office was commonly located the the general store. The original Millbrook store was destroyed by fire. This building was moved from the river valley and erected on the site of the original store.


Grist Mill - Abram Garris built a mill here in 1832. The mill allowed valley farmers to have their grain ground into flour without a difficult trip over the mountains. Garris dammed the brook upstream, diverting the water to run the machinery that turned the millstones that ground the grain. As more efficient mills were built nearer the railroad, the miller lost many of his customers and eventually the mill stopped operating. The original mill burned down in 1922. The mill on this site was built by Millbrook volunteers based on a grist mill in Bartonsville, PA taken down by volunteers in 1988. This new building started as felled timber hauled to the village by truck and horse, and through extensive milling and joinery, and a raising, became the mill that had been lacking in Millbrook since 1922. Future plans, call for a working water wheel to provide power to turn the grist stones in the building. In the cold and snowy winter of 2002-2003, the wheel was erected from fabricated parts by our volunteers (see the second photo.


Millbrook Hotel - This "hotel" did not operate like the hotels of today. A century ago this building was used as a residence, but farm laborers could board here and occasionally travelers would stay overnight. It is said that one could always purchase spirits at the hotel.


Church - Religion played an important role in the villagers spiritual and social life. In the early 1800's, before the village existed, Methodist circuit ministers visited this area. As the community began growing, regular Sunday services were held in a private home. In 1840, the villagers built a small church (the present schoolhouse) which was replaced in 1860 with a larger structure identical t the reconstruction (1972) you see here.


Hill House - Sylvester Hill, a carpenter, also ran a combination tavern and store i the village. The Hills and their neighbors combined work with social affairs when possible. Quilting, sewing, and cornhusking provided opportunities to get together and exchange local news. Spinning and weaving demonstrations are conducted in the Hill house on weekends during the summer.


Smokehouse - The curing of meat made it possible to preserve it for a significant period of time without modern refrigeration. After butchering, the meat would be packed in a brine of salt, pepper, sugar and salt petre for two weeks. The meat was then hung over a smoky fire in the smokehouse for two to six days. Chips of green oak, hickory, hickory bark and even corn cobs were added to the low fire to create smoke. The mat took on a brown crust, desired both for flavor and protection against insects.


Garden - Many of our volunteers and park service employees have green thumbs and like to compete with the village groundhogs for harvesting the crops. Here you can see some herbs and vegetables if the varmints haven't beaten us to them.


 (Depue) Shoemaker's House - This structure, known as the Depue House, was moved to Millbrook from elsewhere and furnished as a shoemaker's house. It is representative of an earlier, more primitive type of housing which during the late 1800's would have been occupied by tenant farmers or people of lesser means. The shoemaker made leather shoes on foot-shaped forms called lasts. Often necessity forced tradesmen such as the shoemaker, cooper, cabinetmaker, wheelwright, mason and weaver to hire out as farm laborers in addition to plying their regular trade.


Dryhouse - Drying fruits, vegetables, and herbs was a common method of preserving them for winter use. The low, constant heat of the woostove dried the thinly sliced items spread on the racks. Stored in a cool, dry place such as an attic, these items could last for months.


Van Campen Farmhouse - This building is not open to the public. This 18th century farmhouse was the residence of Abraham Van Campen, an early settler who arrived in this area around 1732. The house, originally located two miles south of Millbrook, was moved here in 1978 to save it from destruction during the then proposed Tock's Island Dam project. The nearby brook is named "Van Campen's Brook" because of the water powered mill Abraham Van Campen built downstream from here. During his life he accumulated 10,000 acres and he and his descendants became some of the leading citizens in the vicinity.


Van Campen Barn - A vital part of every homestead was the barn. The barn provided shelter for many of the farm animals and a storage area for hay and grains as well as for valuable farm equipment. This building was taken down, timbers refurbished, and erected in genuine barn-raising style from a site approximately one-quarter mile south of its present setting.


Woodworking Shop - Millbrook, like the typical village of the 1800's, had at least one shop where wood was made into useful or essential items. Special items like barrels, kegs, boxes, and caskets were produced in a Cooper's shop; furniture was made in a cabinet shop. The particular talents of these tradesmen were more advanced than those of the average farmer who also had many skills. This building was relocated to Millbrook from the Walpack area in 1986. The original Cooper shop stood where the paved road passes the Hill house.


 E.L. Garris House - Garris was a common name in Millbrook. Elias settled here from Flatbrookville and spend the rest of his days in Millbrook. Elias' wife was the daughter of Abram Garris, the original miller. They are buried in the cemetery. The Garris House represents the home of the average Millbrooker. Millbrook women used the modern appliances of their day to ease their chores. They washed with scrub boards, ironed with heavy flat irons, churned butter, made soap, tended vegetable and herb gardens, canned, and dried food, cooked on wood-burning stoves, and sewed their families' clothing.


Machine Shed - A place for the Garris' to store the overflow of machinery.


Garris Barn


School - Eager for education, the villagers held school in the basement of the first church. After the new church was built, the old curch building was moved to this site and became a one-room schoolhouse in 1868. The children learned to read, write and spell. The older students also studied arithmetic and geography. This was their preparation for the future, which would take many of them far from Millbrook, both in miles and in lifestyle. Spelling bees and recitations at the school provided entertainment.


 Cemetery - In the cemetery on the hill above the school, look for the names of early residents of Millbrook still visible on the old gravestones. These people lived a life very different from our own. Their life was hard and physically demanding. Without a village doctor and modern medical technology, many died young, as can be seen by the dates on the tombstones.

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