Shank’s Mill, in Waynesboro, PA was built in 1857 by Christian Stouffer on land which he had purchased in 1853 from Peter Benedict. The mill was originally named Springdale Mills after the surrounding area which at the time was known as Springdale Downs. Upon Christian Stouffer’s death in 1867, the mill and tract of land were transferred to his son, Benjamin Stouffer. In 1888 the property was transferred to Charles Buhrman via a sheriff’s sale. In 1905, Charles Buhrman sold the property of 15 acres, the mill, water rights, and the brick miller’s house to Edward Shockey and his wife, Emma.
Edward Shockey and his second wife, Lila Belle, sold the property to Hobart and Mary Shockey in 1928, and they changed the name to Shockey’s Mill. In 1932, they sold the entire property to Elmer and Helen Shockey for the grand price of ten dollars.
The property became Shank’s Mill in 1935 when it was purchased by Wilmer and Edna Shank, who over their lifetime successfully owned and operated five different grist mills. From 1935 on, Wilmer operated both Shank’s Mills; one in Emitsburg, MD and the Waynesboro, PA mill until he sold the Emitsburg mill to his eldest son, Weldon Shank. Later in 1940, when Wilmer retired from milling, he sold the Waynesboro mill to his second son, Odell, and his wife, Yula. Odell successfully operated the mill until his death in 1973.
Yula Shank’s mission from that time on was the preservation of Shank’s Mill as an historic site for future generations to be able to observe a water powered operating grist mill built in the 1800’s. She successfully petitioned the Pennsylvania Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places and in 1975 Shank’s Mill was approved as a national historic site by the National Register.
Odell and Yula’s son, Adrian, was raised at the mill property and learned the operation working with his dad. He has always lived within a several hours drive to the property and has returned weekends to help maintain the mill. In 1981 he purchased the land over which the mill race lies in order to protect the race from the encroaching housing development. Yula willed the property, mill, and its operating machinery to him and seven years after her death, he received title to the property in 2013. Adrian, his wife Sara, and their daughter, Elizabeth, intend to restore and preserve Shank’s Mill for future generations.