Bancroft Mills is an abandoned mill complex along Brandywine Creek in Wilmington, Delaware, United States. It has been the site of some of the earliest and most famous mills near Wilmington and was the largest and longest running complex along the Brandywine.
Gilpin Mills was opened on the site in 1787 and was the first paper mill in Delaware. Bancroft Mills was opened in 1831 by Joseph Bancroft (1803 – 1874), an English immigrant who had worked in the Midlands textile industry. The mill was rebuilt following an 1839 flood and was expanded several times, including a large 1895 expansion. Separately Riddle Mills were built in 1845, on neighboring land and grew rapidly. The mills were consolidated in 1895 by the Bancroft family partnership, which was soon reformed into a corporation. In 1880, at half of its future size, Bancroft Mills was described as the largest cotton finishing mill in the United States, and in 1930 it was described as one of the largest cotton finishing works in the world.
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