North Wales, PA
 Elias K. Freed's Grist Mill

 
The origin of the name "West Point" was coined by Elias K. Freed and Henry Moyer. Freed and Moyer owned
 a flour mill in North Wales, PA. The two businessmen built several buildings about a mile west of North Wales to
sell commodities not seen in the area these days - hay, coal, lumber and animal feed. They named their outlet the

West Point Feed House
.
In the days before the automobile it would be akin to owning a gas station, and was very profitable.
(It should be noted here that Elias K. Freed became the president of the First National Bank of Lansdale.)

 
Elias K. Freed's grist mill on Main Street, North Wales PA in 1885.
 
The original mill at North Wales was built by J. H. Egner in 1860, and was then operated as a grist mill and distillery. It was forty by sixty feet in dimensions, and three stories in height, with an attic. At the time of finishing the mill the proprietor was obliged to sell it, and E. K. Freed and Jonas and David Moyer became the purchasers. The new firm removed the machinery connected with the distillery, and changed that part of the building into a planing mill, using the other portion as a grist mill.

In March, 1862, the building was destroyed by fire, but it was quickly rebuilt for a merchant and grist mill, with five run of grinding stones and a forty horsepower steam engine.

In 1866 Jonas D. Moyer withdrew from the firm, and in 1868 David Moyer withdrew also, selling his interest to Henry W. Moyer.

Sometime around 1873 the West Point Feed House was built.

In 1881 Henry Moyer sold his interest to Mr. Freed, but retained ownership of the West Point Feed House.

The mill was then rebuilt a third time. Its frontage was 120 feet, it had three stories and an attic as well as a two story warehouse. The five grinding stones were replaced with a new technology that utilized cylindrical corrugated rollers, greatly increasing its capacity. It used eight pairs of cast iron rollers and eight pairs of porcelain rollers. Running day and night it could produce 150 barrels of flour a day. It was the first roller process mill in Montgomery County and the third in the state.

 

This rendering of the mill is part of map of North Wales dated 1886.
(The people and horses are not drawn to scale.)

Notice the discrepancy between the photo at the top of this page and this drawing. There is an addition built onto the
left side of  the mill, but the top photo (taken the year before) shows a railroad siding. Did the addition actually exist?

 
In this early 1900's postcard, the top of the mill can be seen to the left of the telegraph pole in the foreground.
Click on the picture to see a larger version.
 
West Point is west of this mill. Where was the mill?
The location is shown below.
The mill is shown on Main Street in the 1886 map. The Number "1" on the key to the map says,
 "North Wales Steam Roller Mills, E. K. Freed & Co". Those familiar with the area can tell by
the railroad tracks that it was located next to the present day North Wales fire house.
 
The mill exists today as 137 Main Street in North Wales. In 2005 it was rebuilt as modern office space.

West Point is west of THIS building!


 
Here is the 1886 map to view or download. (7.3 megabytes - will open in a new window)