Tag Archives: Marsh Creek Lake

My new book: to be published in 2018

milfordmills-coverfrontandsideTo save time, I am cross-pollinating on my social media sites.

A link to my Twitter Account




My updated and expanded book will have 21 chapters, illustrated vintage maps, and early photographs.

Most people are intrigued with the “Bo Bo” Hoff connection – the famous Philadelphia gangster (and Al Capone’s partner-in-crime) spent five years in a mansion/hideout in Milford Mills.

Here is an excerpt from some of the “curious” landmarks

“Murder Hollow” and Other Tales

From 1836 to 1916, the miller and farmer Benjamin G. Nichols was held in high regard for his productive saw mill and a cider mill that used many varieties of apples from his farm on Creek Road.

In the 1930s, Nichols’ son, Oliver, was similarly well-known. His former store and gas station still stands at the corner of Creek and Crawford Roads, just north of the Struble trail at Dorlan’s. According to local legend and written accounts during the gangster “Bo Bo” Hoff’s residency in Milford Mills, this stretch of Creek Road was known as “Murder Hollow” after the body of an unidentified woman was found along Creek Road and a “severed head” found floating in the nearby East Branch.

Equally frightening was the area’s reputation for harboring the “Dorlan’s Devil,” an apparition that was described as “an oversized kangaroo with long black hair and eyes like large red saucers.”   One news notice in 1937, reported a sighting “after an absence of five years.” The “witnesses” included a Downingtown paper mill worker with the unusual name of Cydney Ladley as well as his “wife and Mrs. Chester Smith”who were with him in the family car, on the way to Milford Mills from Dorlan’s.   The sighting in 1932 was made by two nursery men who working in the heavily wooded area near Dorlan’s. One man, “Charles McCandless of Landsdowne” was asked, as was Ladley, if he did not mistake the “beast” for a deer – a stupid question, as the reporter suggests, knowing that deer were so common in “those parts.” The “apparition which crossed his path was no deer,” reported Ladley, who later organized a search party. “Armed with guns and accompanied by hunting dogs, the men tramped about that section for several hours without locating the menacing brute,” it was reported.

A few years later, in 1935, the myterious death of Evelyn Hoey seemed to seal the reputation of “Murder Hollow” although the “murder” took place some distance away, in what was described as a sprawling mansion on Indian Run Road in Glenmoore. Hoey, a Broadway theater torch singer and an aspiring actress who had a Paramount contract, was spending the week in the mansion, then the home of Henry Huddleston Rogers 3d, grandson of a deceased millionaire, “Col.” Henry Huddleston Rogers, who was co-founder, with John D. Rockfeller, of Standard Oil.

According to one account written decades after insident, police were called to the scene on the night of September 11th, and they found Hoey dead from a head wound in the master bedroom. Her body was taken to a mogue in Downingtown and later to the county seat of West Chester for an autopsy. A coroner’s jury returned an open verdict that Hoey killed herself, but still Rogers and a friend, William Kelly, were arrested on suspicion of homicide.[1]

[1] A Wikipedia entry for the incident presents a list of people at home in the mansion as though presenting characters in a Clue board game. In addition to Kelly, “a photographer,” there was “a Japanese cook, George Yamada, a butler, and Rogers’ chauffeur, Frank Catalano.”