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Carroll County Times
Carroll County News

With its history dating back more than 200 years, historic Roop’s Mill on outskirts of Westminster now up for auction

Fewer than a half-dozen early grist mills have survived in Carroll County. In the late 18th century through the 19th century, these businesses were the heart of grain production in the region.

One of those remaining sites, historic Roop’s Mill and its adjoining farm buildings on the outskirts of Westminster, is up for auction online until Wednesday.

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A particularly early and well-preserved example of mill history, according to the National Register of Historic Places, the property is on the south side of the Taneytown Pike and west of the city and totals 8.13 acres, including several structures dating as far back as the late 18th century. Meadow Branch Creek runs from northeast to southwest through the property, providing the stream of water that drove the mill wheel.

“This really is a part of the fabric of the agricultural history of Carroll County,” said Paul Cooper, an auction agent for Alex Cooper Auctioneers, which is coordinating the sale..

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The mill ground wheat for graham flour, oats and rye for cattle feed, and corn for cornmeal throughout the 19th and into the 20th century, according to historical documents on the Alex Cooper auction website.

The Roop’s Mill complex centerpiece is an 8,000-square-foot, three-story brick and stone mill, dating from around 1795. It was rebuilt in 1816. The structure retains machinery from various periods during its operation.

An 1825 stone dwelling referred to as the Roop House, stands near the mill. A log cooper’s shed, an early two-part bank barn, and numerous farm sheds complete the mill and farmstead grouping.

In addition, a late 19th century iron suspension bridge provides pedestrian access across Meadow Branch Creek.

“It’s actually really fascinating they built a pedestrian bridge to connect this property with the one directly north of it so people didn’t have to cross the street,” Cooper said. “It’s very unique for the time period.”

According to the National Register of Historic Places, John Roop (1770-1852) was the son of Christian Roop, a German immigrant to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. John Roop followed his three brothers to buy a large section of land where the current mill is located. The land was then was in Frederick County, before Carroll County was incorporated. It is believed that a mill stood on the current Roop’s Mill site when John Roop purchased the land, according to documents.

In 1805, John Roop built a brick house across the Meadow Branch Creek and the road which later became the Taneytown Pike. Called Meadow Brook, this dwelling was eventually inherited by John Roop Jr.

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John Roop rebuilt the mill in 1816 into the structure that stands today. He apparently used the original stone foundation for part of the substructure of the imposing brick building, according to the National Register of Historic Places.

His son David Roop became involved in the mill operation while his brother John Jr. maintained a farm across the road. In 1825, David built the new stone residence next to the mill.

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The Roop family continued to own the property and operate the mill into the 20th century.

In the mid-1950s, the Taneytown Pike was widened and straightened, cutting off the millrace from Meadow Branch Creek. John D. Roop Jr., born in 1891, lived into his 90s on the family farm.

The mill was neglected until it was recently purchased by John Cugle, who had intentions of restoring the Roop House as a bed-and-breakfast. Although the owner received special approval from the Westminster Board of Zoning Appeals for the plan in 2003, it never came to fruition.

“The auction is online and everyone can participate,” Cooper said. “It’ll be a lot of responsibility to take on this property. ... The owner wanted to give someone else the opportunity.”

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Registration and bidding will close on Wednesday at 2 p.m. The opening bid is $250,000 with an initial deposit of $20,000.

More details regarding the property and the auction are available at https://trib.al/6wrwdDA.


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