The Bender Dam and the Lititz Mill (1741-1775)


The first of the seven dams built on the Lititz creek was erected by John Bender in 1741 and he operated the first saw mill built in this area. Just beyond Rome with Keller’s mountain as a background, the remains of what was once the most beautiful spot in Warwick Township are still visible.

The Clay Road has been relocated west towards Lititz, but the old Clay road passed over the top of the old dam breast as it did from the very beginning. This road is believed to have been the original trail that led to the Nanticoke Indian village near Clay.

In 1757 the Moravian Congregation replaced the old log mill with a large grist and saw mill with two turbines. This was the first of its kind in northern Lancaster County and was the first step towards establishing the proposed settlement. When this mill was destroyed by a disastrous fire after 18 years, Hans Christenson who supervised the building of the first mill returned to Lititz to build the second, it cost him his life.

Even though this saw mill still used the old straight saw, it was so well constructed that an entry was made in the church records that it “schnitt recht gut.” (Cut right good)

(This is updated material by M. Xakellis.) It became known as the Rome Mill and in 1967 when this article was written, it was believed that the old mill had enough structural integrity that it could be rebuilt. In May of 1971 the mill was purchased by Sylvan Brandt with plans of refurbishing it.)


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