By Erin Tighe and Lauren Barczak, Park Naturalists at Lums Pond State Park
If you’ve ever driven along State Route 71, you may have passed this building and not thought much of it. However, this relic of the past is an iconic part of Lums Pond State Park’s history. This building is the Lums Mill House. It was built and later established as a mill by Samuel Clement sometime after he purchased the land in 1724. When Clement died in 1783, the land was transferred to Isaac Allman. Upon Allman’s death in 1802, the land was then passed to his son-in-law and grandson, both named John Lum. The house was originally a one-story three-bay building but was renovated after 1809 into a two-story, three-bay structure.
The construction of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal took place around 1823. The millpond near the building supplied water for the summit portion of the canal until the millrun was diverted, drying the existing stream. Lum’s son, Isaac Allman Lum, took over after his death and later sold a portion of land to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Company in 1838 for $575.00. He ended up selling two more properties to the company in 1841. Over its 100 years in operation, the mill likely functioned to produce wheat flour and cut lumber. Throughout the years the mill house eventually became close to deteriorating and was at risk for destruction in 1962. However, a survey by the National Parks Commission saved it and it was then officially put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
Delaware State Parks offers a Resident and Institutional Curatorship program for available historic sites. Currently, the Division of Parks and Recreation owns more sites than can be restored and maintained due to budget constraints. Through this program, private citizens and institutions can enlist as Curators and provide rehabilitation to these buildings to an authentic standard as approved by a committee. In return, Curators can remain living in these restored sites for life. For more information on the Curatorship program, click here.