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The Old Mill records


Held at: Thornbury Historical Society [Contact Us]PO Box 155, Cheyney, PA, 19319

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Thornbury Historical Society. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The Old Mill was a restaurant owned by husband and wife Charles A. and Althea M. Upperman. Located on Brinton Lake Road in Concordville, Pennsylvania (Delaware County), close to the border of Thornbury Township, it opened in 1955. The couple's son, Charles J. "Sam" Upperman, began managing the restaurant in 1957 and eventually became the owner, running the business for just over 35 years until it closed in 1993.

Part of the building that housed the restaurant was originally built in 1682 by Swedish settlers and used as a gristmill, powered by the water from the west branch of Chester Creek. This space was known as "The Mill Room" in the restaurant. "The Brinton Room" in the restaurant was a stone-and-frame addition built in 1709.

Ownership of the mill changed hands over time, and by the late 1700s it was operated by members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), who sold grain to both British and Continental Army troops during the Revolutionary War.

After ceasing operations as a mill, the building was used in the early 20th century as the Brinton Lake Club, a social club for the summer community around nearby Brinton Lake. Boxing matches held in the club in the early 1930s drew thousands of spectators. Another section was added to the mill building in 1929, which would become known as "The Concord Room" of the restaurant.

Althea M. Upperman (1906-1980) and Charles A. Upperman (1902-1972) Upperman bought the property in 1945. They initially rented the building as a nightclub before starting a restaurant in 1955. Their son later took ownership of the restaurant, running it until the business closed in 1993.


Blakinger, Mary. "Owner is Selling Old Mill Restaurant. Building, Property Fixtures Being Sold for Only $2 Million." Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA), June 24, 1994. Accessed June 25, 2014.

This collection consists of financial and employment records from the Old Mill restaurant under the management of Charles and Althea Upperman and their son, Charles "Sam" Upperman. It includes five reservation books with patron names, but no other personal information (1959-1968, with gaps); six book keeping ledgers with income, expense, payroll, and other financial information (1956-1961); and other records such as checks, employee tax return stubs, and vacation employment certificates.

Gift of Michael Dever.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Thornbury Historical Society directly for more information.

Thornbury Historical Society
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Access Restrictions

Some materials, especially employee records, may be restricted due to privacy concerns. Contact Thornbury Historical Society for information about accessing this collection.

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