The land, the water and the wildlife have been there forever, at the confluence of Big Branch and Deer Creek in Pylesville, but the forward-thinking nature center designed to provide environmental education as well as preservation, interpretation and management of the ecological and cultural resources of the site is a relatively recent amenity.
Eden Mill Nature Center and Historic Mill Museum is celebrating 17 years in operation with an open house and rededication party Saturday, June 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eden Mill was once an actual, functioning mill built in the early 1800s. It became a power plant with the rebuilding of its dam in 1917, but functioned as a mill up through the 1960s. Harford County then purchased the land for park property and in 1991 a group of local nature-lovers, led by Frank Marsden formed Eden Mill and began the laborious process of cutting trails through the forest, building a nature center and rehabilitating the historic mill for public display.
Here is a write-up from Eden Mill about Saturday’s events:
Have you ever participated in a program, hiked or walked your pet on our trails, fished by the dam, indulged in a lunch at the picnic tables, awed at the Historic Grist Mill, utilized the canoe launch to put your canoe or kayak in the creek, visited our nature center, or just explored the park? Or maybe you have never been to Eden Mill and have always said to yourself that you wanted to visit the Park and have never had the chance or opportunity. If so, we would love for you to join us for our Rededication and Open House even on Saturday, June 7 from 10:00am-2:00pm.
Bring your family and friends to enjoy a day at Eden Mill to celebrate our appreciation to all of our supporters since our start in 1991! The day will be filled with guided mill tours, nature center programs, wetland activities, guided hikes, activities for families, crafts, face painting, a scavenger hunt, live animals, and multiple environmental and historical exhibitors (see list below). The nature center, historic grist mill, and gift shop will be open throughout the day for your enjoyment.
Enjoy lunch in our pavilion as Cadette/Junior Troop 638 sells food and snacks to raise money for their troop. Participate in song and dance in preparation for a visit from Smokey the Bear! Author Jack Shagena will be on hand in the afternoon to sign copies of his book, Eden Mill, portraying Eden Mill’s history.
Rededication ceremony will be held at 12:00pm with County Executive David Craig. This day is packed with activities for all ages and will be held rain or shine. We look forward to seeing you to share in our Rededication and Open House event! Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions!
Eden Mill is proud to have the following organizations participate as exhibitors for our Rededication and Open House event…
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Harford Soil Conservation District
Eden Mill Nature Center Adopt-A-Park Girl Scouts
Chesapeake Bay Trust
Anita C. Leight Estuary Center
Department of Public Works
Harford Bird Club
Mill of Bel Air
Susquehanna State Park
Friends of Harford
Phoenix Wildlife Center
Harford County Envirothon
Harford Land Trust
Noah’s Ark Animal Workshop
Magness Dairy Farm and Museum
Harford Glen Foundation
Isaac Walton League
Personally, I live about 3 minutes from Eden Mill and regularly visit the park to fish, look for turtles and hike alongside Deer Creek and Big Branch. The revamped nature center is incredible with dozens of mounted local animal and bird species for examination, many activities for adults and kids (like that game where you reach inside an obscured box and have to guess what that strange furry thing is that you’re feeling inside, and even some live local wildlife on display for observation.
When I checked the place out last week there was a pine snake, a couple corn snakes, a black rat snake, a box turtle, an aquarium of stream fish and a pond with a snapping turtle, painted turtle and mud turtle swimming in it.
The historic mill museum is entertaining and educational too with plenty of knobs and cranks to turn for the kids to produce grain or generate electricity and enough local history to keep adults interested as well.
Of course, Eden Mill, for me, will always be remembered as home of two of the biggest black rat snakes I’ve ever seen in my life – and believe me, I’ve seen quite a few. As a youngster, my dad often took my brother and I hiking at Eden Mill and unfailingly, we could always find the same two ancient black rat snakes lounging in the rafters of the red barn building. Each was about 7 or 8 feet long, a bit short of the state record of 9 or so feet long, but still an impressive reptile to see in action right here in Harford County.
I know I’ll be out there looking for them again on Saturday.