homepage logo

Mill property still on market

By Staff | Sep 2, 2016

Toni Milbourne

Shepherdstown Chronicle

The Thomas Shepherd Grist Mill remains on the market although the price has dropped. Those interested in the historic property on High Street can now find it available for just $725,000.

The property, owned by the late Patrinka Kelch, landed in the lap of Jefferson County Sheriff Pete Dougherty, who now serves as the executor of the Kelch estate.

“It is my responsibility to get as much value from the assets as possible to pay off creditors and to give to those Ms. Kelch wanted to leave something for,” Dougherty said Wednesday.

The mill is filled with many unique items and many antiques.

One of the most attention grabbing items is a slide of blood that was found with a letter signed by former mill owner Ira Glackens.

The letter indicates that the slide was procured by Glackens from the alleged doctor who drew the blood from Ghandi in 1944.

Dougherty said the item will be included in an auction to be held Sept. 24 at the Jefferson Coumty Fairgrounds.

Some of the items in the Mill will make their way to a high end auction house in hopes of gaining a higher market value.

Debbie Lowe, executive assistant to the sheriff, has been at the Mill over several weeks sorting, exploring and determining what might interest those at the auction house.

“I have sent photos of things they might find significant,” Lowe said.

The representatives from Weschler’s Auction House in Washington, D.C., arrived Wednesday to mark the items they found to be of interest. Many included antique pieces of furniture as well as some paintings and crockery.

The remainder of Kelch’s possessions will be offered by Nibert Auctions on Sept. 24. Included are many pieces of furniture, books, dishes and stoneware. There are numerous paintings, many by local artists, that will also be available for bid.

The Mill itself, with a working waterwheel, must find a buyer before going to the auction block. The price has dropped from over $1 million in hopes that a buyer can be found.

The mill, located on 207 East High Street, is a limestone mill built between 1734 and 1739 by Thomas Shepherd, the founder of Shepherdstown. About 1835, a wooden third story was added. Sometime in the 19th century, a huge overshot wheel of 12 tons and 40 feet in diameter was built.

The mill was restored to the tune of a half million dollars by Ira and Nancy Glackens, who owned it from 1973 to 1990. Ira Glackens was a writer and painter who was well known for his work on behalf of humanitarian and environmental affairs.

Glackens father, William Glackens, was a member of the early 20th century Amiercan painters known as the Ashcan School. Paintings by both Glackens can be found in the mill. Some will be moved to the auction house while some will be available for local bid.

Kelch, who worked for the Glackens, acquired the mill and the Mill House in 1990. She later sold the Mill House and resided in the mill itself.

In a 2005 article in The Observer, Kelch is quoted as saying, “It is a humbling experience and I feel so lucky to be able to reside in the Thomas Shepherd Grist Mill, which is 267 years old.” She went on to say, “I would never think of tampering with the patina of the mill. The patina contains the history of the building. Once the history is gone, it is gone forever.”

The hope by those who knew Kelch and those who wish to maintain the history of the mill is that a buyer will be found who loves the property just as much as did Kelch.

Nancy McBride is serving as realtor for the sale of the property.