Feed Mill at Pocopson

WJ Pratt's custom feed mill at Pocopson stood where the current Brandywine Ace hardware store is today.  It was originally constructed in 1906 as a milk receiving station for the Supplee Brothers of Philadelphia. Local farmers would deliver milk in steel cans to the depot to be held in cold storage until the daily train would pick up the goods and transport them to Philadelphia. A creamery was added which would convert the milk to butter which allowed the local farmers an additional outlet for their dairy products. The milk receiving station closed in 1920 due to reduced supply of milk from local farmers, partly due to the introduction of the automobile which allowed the farmers to transport their goods by land to other competitive dairies.

In 1921, WJ Pratt converted the structure into a custom feed mill to support the local farmers. Since the mill was located along the railroad and not located along a creek it had to use an alternative power source. Gasoline powered hit-and-miss engines were utilized to turn pulleys which through the transmission of a drive belt would power the hammer-mills. Hammer mills were an advancement in milling , replacing the grindstone technology used in 18th and 19th century milling. The local farmers would deliver their grains (corn, wheat, barley, oats) by wagon to the mill to be weighed on large scales. One weighed, the grains would be transported by hand into the milling operation on the ground floor. Ingredients such as salt and molasses were available for purchase at the mill to be used in blending custom feeds. Once the finished feed was bagged it would be returned to the farmers wagon and re-weighed on the scales. The miller would charge for the milling service as well as any materials purchased at the mill.

The Pratt family ran the mill until the 1940's when the business was sold to the next miller. The Pocopson Feed Mill ran until the early 1960's when demand for local custom milling was reduced mainly because of advancements in farm mechanization allowing farmers to custom grind feeds on their own farms.The building would be utilized as a storage warehouse for the next owner, Charles Ahrens and Sons when the first hardware store business opened at that location. The building was razed in 1977 when a larger hardware store building was constructed.