In 1787 the first paper mill, Gilpin’s Mill, opened in Delaware along the banks of the Brandywine Creek just north of Wilmington. Decades later, in 1831, a textile company owned by an English immigrant named Joseph Bancroft opened on the same site. Bancroft Mills, which started in the original paper mill, expanded on the site until its closure in 1961. In the 1930s, it was considered to be one of the premier cotton finishing factories in the world. The Bancroft family was influential in the area and devoted much of their time to supporting the region, not just through industry.

After changing hands in the 1960s, Wilmington Piece Dye company owned it until 2003, when it filed for bankruptcy.

The property was then purchased with the intent to clean up the site and build luxury condominiums. Two of the former buildings which comprised the mill were renovated and now are the site of 46 condominiums which back to the Brandywine River. Bancroft Mills Condominiums prides itself on the historical nature of the site and has a fantastic history on its homeowners association website.

A fire in May of 2015 ripped through some of the still-abandoned buildings, leaving them in an even greater state of disrepair.

One thing is for sure, though: the architectural beauty of this long forgotten place is amazing. Below is just a sampling of some of the imagery we found from Bancroft Mills.

Depending on trail closures and park hours, you can see Bancroft Mills from a distance by walking the trails at Alapocas Run State Park or Rockford Park. Download a map and see for yourself!

OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article.