Jul 7, 2014

Saving South Whitehall's History

In 1952, South Whitehall lost Wehr's Mill, constructed in 1862. Last week, on July 2, 2014 the Commissioners signed the township's historic overlay ordinance, designed to provide protection for historical structures and sites, by cooperating owners. When Wehr's Covered Bridge was designated a National Historic Site in 1980, the application specified 1.45 acres. Whether or not the dam is included in this area is unclear, but the historical significance of the dam is unquestionable. It was the most elaborate dam built for any mill, on either the Jordan or Cedar Creeks. A concrete slab, inscribed and dated by none other than William Wehr himself, remains near the former mill site. In their haste to harvest another dam demolition grant, the Wildlands Conservancy told the Commissioners that the 1904 dam is neither historic or aesthetic, but the public knows that their iconic dam has both those attributes, in abundance.

undated photograph of the former Wehr Mill

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find it odd that Wildlands seeks out dams like the Chain Dam in Easton and Wehr's Mill Dam in South Whitehall-

-That nobody is complaining about. Easton doesn't want to get rid of the Chain Dam and up until a few weeks ago, South Whitehall considered the Wehr's Mill dam part of their flagship park.

There are lots of dams in the Lehigh Valley like the Fogelsville Dam that many would applaud their removal where the money and the expertise would be welcomed.

michael molovinsky said...

@8:33, back channel, i have been hearing from scientific and environmental types who also question the wildlands choices and motivation. the jordan, downstream from the dam, becomes a disappearing stream during dry periods. the dam helps keep the creek "wet" in the park area during those periods.