Historic limestone kiln in Manchester Township to be demolished

A historic limestone kiln along the Susquehanna Trail in Manchester Township is in the limelight after a passing motorist noticed accelerated deterioration of a wall that is a few feet from the southbound lane, according to Dave Thompson, a spokesperson from PennDOT.

On Monday, it was apparent that large blocks of stone had fallen out of the face of the kiln and metal rails that support the center of the structure were bulging.

Last week, PennDOT cleared years of trees and brush from the site in preparation for demolition, opening up the view and showing the extent of the deterioration.

According to Bill Einsig, of the Manchester Historical Society, the kiln was part of the Jacob Loucks farm in 1860. Loucks bought the land in 1794. Einsig adds that “the source of the limestone for the kiln came from a pit just south of the kiln, probably in the area of the Reilly Veterinary office today.”

The limestone kiln along the Susquehanna Trail in Manchester Township
The limestone kiln along the Susquehanna Trail in Manchester Township

In speculating the business purpose of the kiln Einsig adds that, “there's no evidence this kiln was part of a larger commercial venture. Like many kilns, it was built to produce agricultural lime for the surrounding fields, but it's also likely some of the finished lime found its way to neighboring farms. However, P. A. & S. Small owned land nearby in the latter part of the 19th century, so it's possible the kiln could have been part of that large operation.

The products of the kilns were also used as a construction material to make products like mortar, whitewash and plaster.

Another kiln nearby:Gazebo built on historic limekiln in Springettsbury Township

In the past, the historical society had hoped to have it dismantled and rebuilt on park land, but lack of funding kept us from pursuing that idea. It’s the last known kiln left in the township. “The structure is being removed because it has become a hazard to the roadway. We do not have a timeframe as to when it will be removed,” Thompson said.

This article originally appeared on York Daily Record: Historic limestone kiln in Manchester Twp. to be demolished