April 27, 2009

A postcard image of a water-powered mill in Mifflinburg, Pa. Photo courtesy of the Union County Historical Society.

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LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell University professors researching the history of Union County water-powered mills for a book project are seeking contributions of old photos and sketches, ledgers, oral stories and diaries containing information about the structures and their past.

Tom Rich, a professor of mechanical engineering who studies the historical and social context of engineering, and David Del Testa, an assistant professor of history, are working together on the book, which will be published by the Union County Historical Society.

While exploring the county a couple of years ago, Del Testa noticed how many mills and mill sites the area has, prompting him to conduct informal research on the mills. He was inspired by his discoveries and incorporated them into his classes by asking history students to produce historical studies of local landmarks.

Upcoming book
At the same time, Rich was proposing that an upcoming book by the Historical Society, of which he is a board member, focus on the county's mills and their history. Soon, the two professors realized their shared interest and started collaborating on the project.

"There are a lot of lessons to be learned from a project like this," Rich said. "These mills are a significant part of our history. There was a societal buzz around these mills and they were the social focal points of the country."

Anyone interested in contributing information to the project may contact Rich or Del Testa at 570-577-7045 or millsproject@bucknell.edu.

Contact: Division of Communications


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