Several views of the Stoddartsville
Historic District, including the falls of the Lehigh
River and gristmill ruins; the Eugene Stull house "The
Fieldstones," two of the numerous summer cottages
in the district
Photographs from National Register collection
an example of one of the early 20th-century rustic resort
cottages within the district
Photograph from National Register collection
One of the pivotal industrial resources of the Lehigh River
region, Stoddartsville is the site of an early 19th-century
milling village built by entrepreneur John Stoddart in partnership
with Josiah White. Here White built the first bear trap locks
that made possible the canalization of the upper Lehigh River.
When the area's industrial business ventures proved unsuccessful,
and the milling village demised, a small resort community
developed among the remnants of Stoddart's company town. Within
the village are the prehistoric and Revolutionary War routes
across the river. Stoddartsville includes the ruins of the
immense gristmill (one of the largest in the state) and sawmill
built by Stoddart, the ruins of the bear trap lock, worker
and manager housing, and rustic resort cottages of the early
Today, Stoddartsville is a private residential community.
The Stoddartsville Historic District consists of houses and
cottages, outbuildings and wells, as well as the ruins of
mills and mill races, walls and landscape features, and early
roads that were once part of an early 19th-century milling
and transportation center. Two principal visual features of
the district, one natural, the other man-made, command attention.
The natural feature, which determined the location of Stoddartsville,
is the "Great Falls of the Lehigh River." Here a band of bedrock
has been worn by the river into a multi-story cascade that
descends to a deep pool of water carved by the force of the
fall. Directly confronting the falls is the other remarkable
element of the district, the two remaining walls of the giant
gristmill that formed the economic focus of Stoddart's village.
Built of roughly shaped, local stones that were carefully
cut only at the corners, the mill remains a commanding presence
despite the loss of a roof and of a substantial portion of
the building. Looming higher than any agricultural building
of its era, it has a footprint of 50 by 70 feet. Chimney or
vent shafts at the corners provide clues to the evolution
of the Oliver Evans-type gristmill that was pioneered in the
Philadelphia region. The mill was damaged by flooding in 1862,
and was largely destroyed in the 1875 forest fire that swept
through the region.
The Stoddartsville Historic District is located on the
south side of PA Rte. 115 at the Lehigh River. Most of the
buildings are private residences, and not open to the public.