Leonard Schechter, a pioneer of the urban salvage movement since the 1970s in New York City, is now a dealer in early industrial-era relics, lighting, furnishings, fixtures, and folk art. His company, Found Objects of Industry, is based in an old mill in rural Berks County, PA, two hours due west of the Holland Tunnel.
There were more than 130 grain mills in Berks County in the 19th century; at one point, Schechter owned three. He sold one, and now he’s put a second on the market, a 45’x65′ stone structure with an 1828 datestone in Oley, PA, a township so laden with history it was named the first National Historic District. Asking is $265K.
On seven wooded acres with a mill stream (obviously), the building — “just up the road from a furnace that made cannonballs for the Revolutionary War” — was used to grind grain and later press apple cider. It’s a beauty in rough shape. The absence of a roof over many years caused part of the interior to rot away; but there is also a fair amount of original flooring and champfered posts; the original mill workings are there, too. (It has had a roof on it for the past few years.)
It could be an antiques showroom, an art studio, a residence. Essentially, says Schechter, “it’s a loft building in the country.”