The Mauser Mills of the Lehigh Valley:

The former Mauser Mill in Northampton, PA

The former Mauser mill in Northampton, PA. Photo credit: Images of America: Northampton, p. 64

The Mauser mill in Northampton was at 12th and Canal streets, located at the mouth of the Hokendauqua Creek and the Lehigh River. The mainline of the Central of New Jersey Railroad ran nearby.


In 1796 Henry Biel, whose father, Baltzer Biel, had moved from Saucon township to Allen township, erected a grist mill near the mouth of the Hokendauqua creek. Later it was known as Kearn's mill. In 1822 Peter and Joseph Laubach acquired the property and ran the mill until 1857. When Peter Laubach died, his son, Samuel Laubach, accepted the flour-mill, and he operated the mill until 1861. When he died, his widow and four sons, operating under the name of the Samuel Laubach estate, assumed the management of the flour-mill in Laubachsville, now Northampton. Eventually the mill was taken over by the Export Milling Company, which went bankrupt. (History of Northampton County, 1920, volume 2, page 532; volume 3, page 426)
History of Northampton County, 1920, volume 3

January 1905, the Mauser Mill Company bought the former Laubach mill and took possession 1 January (The Allentown Leader, 6 January 1905)

July 1906, Atlas Portland Cement acquired the former Laubach water rights. These dated back to 1822 and were held by the Samuel Laubach estate. The rights involved water from the mill race on the dam on the Hokendauqua Creek along Laubach Avenue to the mill. The mill race was no longer being used. (The Morning Call, 28 July 1906)

May 1909, the company announced that it will build a large steel elevator at Northampton, 35' high and 30’ diameter, to hold over 22,000 bushels of grain. There will also be a new office at Northampton. (The Morning Call, 6 May 1909)
July 1909, Hugh Ward, James McGregor, James Jones and Jacob Burt completed the grain elevator. (The Morning Call, 28 July 1909)

July and December 1920, repairs to the mill completed.

January 1927, the platform along the rail siding of the CNJ RR has been enclosed. (The Morning Call, 21 January 1927)

1928, an addition was built on south end of the mill for storage.

August 1933, flood waters almost reached main, or flour, floor.

April 1934, repair work was carried out on aqueduct of the Lehigh canal over the Hokendauqua creek. The flooding last fall damaged it, and the canal is empty south of the mill. Note: Later efforts carried out in the 1950s to rebuild the canal from Hokendauqua Creek to Catasauqua would eventually fail.

11 and 18 March 1936, flooding occurred around the mill.

Monday, 4 October 1943, Stanley C. Smith, proprietor of R. A. Smith (the father) Milling Co. in Northampton, took over the Mauser Mill plant, perhaps the oldest business in Northampton. R.A. Smith will continue to operate the plant at East 21st Street, which at one time was the Levan paper mill. Richard A. Smith acquired it in 1889. He had previously operated the Jost Dreisbach mill at Pennsville. (The Morning Call, 6 October)

1957, the storage building of R.A. Smith Milling, i.e., the former Mauser Mill, was largely destroyed in a fire caused by defective wiring. The silo was also damaged. (The Morning Call, 25 October 1957)

1957, the mill destroyed in the fire of 24 October will not be rebuilt. The other R.A. Smith plant at 602 East 21st Street will handle all business with new silos and equipment to be constructed. The site later had a farm and garden store. (The Morning Call, 8 November 1957)

April 1958, Eddie Sacks installed a rifle and pistol range on the second floor of the gutted Mauser Mill.

1968, four tracts of land in Northampton were sold to Robert Nanovic of Jim Thorpe representing the First National Bank of Palmerton. They were sold for debt owed by Steven and Helen Mutz. One tract contained a warehouse, the former Mauser mill lot and the railroad siding. (The Morning Call, 9 November 1968)

1975, the R. A. Smith Milling Co. went out of business with an auction, everything for sale. That auction brought to an end 86 years of business. A supermarket will be put on the site at 602 East 21st Street. (The Morning Call, 26 November 1975)

There are no remnants of the Mauser mill in Northampton that survived to the present.