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Wyalusing Landmark Sold

For the first time since the early 1800's, land just across the Wyalusing Creek from Wyalusing Borough along Route 6 isn't owned by the Welles Family.

Chris Welles, current owner of the former Welles Mill complex, confirmed recently that the property had been sold to Wilkes-Barre businessman Judd Shoval.

Shoval is owner of an insurance-real estate enterprise. The deed transfer shows that ownership of the property was transferred from Welles Mill Co., Inc. to PA Millworks, LP of 24 South River Street, Wilkes-Barre, which is the same address listed for Shoval's other businesses. The sale price is listed at $415,767.50.

Although buildings on the property are expected to be razed, this could not be confirmed. Repeated phone calls to Shoval's office were not returned. There is also no confirmed information regarding how the former mill property will be used in the future, but due to the rail siding that passes through the property, it's speculated that future use will be tied to the natural gas industry.

The mill has not been in operation since the mid 1990's.

The Welles family moved into the Wyalusing area in 1812 and began operating a mill in 1820. It would become Wyalusing's oldest business and the town grew up around the mill. In the 1850's, boats traveling along the North Branch Canal frequently stopped at the mill. An iron ring once used to tie canal boats to a building at the mill remained in place for many years and only recently was removed by a member of the Welles family when it began to look like the building might be leveled.

The Welles Mill Pond was a popular gathering place for fishing and swimming in the summer and ice skating in the winter until the mill stopped relying on waterpower in the 1940's and the pond was drained.

A service station complex known as Wellco was located on both sides of Route 6 and was a flourishing business for many years. Due to its proximity to the Wyalusing Creek, the mill frequently flooded.

In May 1981, the main mill building, which was constructed in 1876, and two other structures, including the original mill building, were destroyed by a raging fire. The current mill facility went into operation in 1983.

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