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Union Canal Towpath Trail
Berks County > County Departments > Parks and Recreation

Union Canal Bicycle & Walking Trail
Stop 5: Gring's Mill and Homestead

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Union Canal Trail

Looking downstream from this marker you will notice a stone building adjoining a concrete bridge and dam which was built around 1931 by C. Scott Althouse, a successful Reading chemical dye manufacturer, to provide direct current electricity to be used in a paint making process.

When the Union Canal was in operation (1827-1884), lock No. 50 E. and a 2 1/2 story brick locktender's house were located near the site of Althouse's bridge. Across the stream one can see the grist mill constructed by David Gring in 1811. The barn (1896) has been converted into a visitor's center while the stone house (1831) serves as the County Parks and Recreation department offices. The dam for the mill was located further upstream and remnants of the mill race are still noticeable at the island next to the mill.

On your way to the next stop, be on guard for the ghost of Mrs. Philip Bissinger. Reacting to her husband's advances toward other women, Mrs. Bissinger took her life and those of her three children by jumping into lock No. 49 E. (stop 6), about 5 p.m. on August 17, 1875. Following the tragedy, the bodies were taken to the Gring's home to await the coroner's inquest.

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