The Forgotten Village of Brandywine

Over the weekend I had a chance to explore some lesser-known areas of Brandywine Falls and the forgotten village of Brandywine – a once bustling community that thrived off the natural power of the falls. The foundations of the village were laid in 1814 with the construction of a meager but productive sawmill that harnessed the power of the flowing water. Grist and woolen mills followed their bold predecessor, and in a short period of time the village came to be known as ‘Brandywine Mills’. What remains is a modest tribute to the resolve and dedication of Northeast Ohio’s industrial beginnings.

 

CVNP sign that greets visitors to the Falls. Notice the bridge and gristmill at the forefront of the picture. 

 

 

Photo of old gristmill on Brandywine Falls c. mid-1800’s.
This photo is of the Champion Electric Company ruins at the top of the falls. Built near the ruins of the old gristmill in 1920, Champion Electric manufactured restaurant appliances here until 1937 when the building suffered catastrophic damage from a lightening strike. As the CVNP duly notes, “These cinder block ruins are from this last industry in Brandywine Falls.”

The two pictures above show hidden remnants of Brandywine’s forgotten industry. One can easily notice two parallel lines running across the creek, and two rusted iron eye hooks still embedded in the rock. For a great comparrison, scroll up and compare these clues to the old photos of the mill atop the falls.

Exposed brick from Brandywine’s past on the bridge that spans the creek. This is what the simple bridge in the top picture evolved into as the community grew throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
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