Walker's Mill is a large rectangular building of whitewash stone on the East bank of Brandywine Creek situated next to the dam that also served Breck's mill. It is two and one-half stories high and built in a T-shape with the main structure masonry approximately 100 feet by 225 feet. There is a handsome tower on the South end. The lower part of this tower is stone with a pent eave. The upper part is of brick topped by a cupola that originally supported a bell. This cupola has a curved arched head and a railing of square wood parts. A hipped roof supports the weather vane. The brick part of the tower has bullseye windows in each of the four sides. Half lunettes flank the tower in the gable end of the main building. A wide lunette window with rectangular muntins is in the North gable end of the main building as well. This end originally had three windows in each floor. The center window in the first floor appears to have been replaced. The West or river elevation consists of -a long series of rectangular windows equally spaced. Those of the second floor being in line with those of the first. Both the height of the windows and location of the sill above the floor varies greatly. This was probably due to the original placement of machinery. A large brick archway allowed the water of the race to flow into the Brandywine. Numerous sheds and other buildings are on the East side of the main building.
Walker's Mill originally had a water wheel to turn the spinning machines used for cotton. In 1840-1844, water turbines were installed to replace the water wheel. In 1848, a fire destroyed much of the mill but it was soon rebuilt. It was called "The White Mill" around 1859 and may have been stuccoed white at that time. Today, the interior has been modified for the needs of building models and exhibits for the Eleutherian Mills Foundation.
Walker's Bank has changed little since it was built to house Mill workers in 1813. Rectangular in plan, it measures 44' x 75' and has four homes although in 1825 there were six. It is a stone building that is now whitewashed although it used to have a light blue color, visible in spots on the East side where the whitewash has worn away. There are two stories with dormered attic on the East facade and three stories with dormers on the river on the West facade. A one story wooden parch is continuous on each long facade. The East porch is divided into four units each containing a door and a six light over nine light double hung wood sash. The doors are set in deep wood paneled reveals. Vertical wood sheathed partitions with a shelf separate the porch between units. Five square wood columns support the shed roof. The second floor has eight windows in a six over six light double hung arrangement. The attic floor has two dormers front and back with six over six sash and two small square sash on each end. The West facade resembles the East with the added story.
Walker's Mill is one of the handsomest examples of industrial architecture in the area. It represents an important era of industrial growth for Northern Delaware and the United States. Walker's Bank is the most authentic remaining workers' homes that remains today on the banks of the Brandywine. The long row of houses is unspoiled. These houses in close proximity to the mill on the banks of the flowing water, the source of power, represent a pure early 19th century industrial scene
Walker's Mill ran the longest of all the Brandywine manufacturers on the DuPont property. It was used largely for cotton spinning. Joseph E. Sims built the mill between 1813 and 1815 having purchased the land in 1813 from Peter Bauduy, then an associate of E. I. duPont. The bank of houses that now remains of the several blocks of workers homes was also built at this time. Walker's Mill as Breck's Mill that shared the same dam and water rights was built at a time when growing industry responded to the needs of a large domestic market cut off from European supplies by the 1812 war. It is an example of the use of new technical skills that could harness the full river's power and the change from small family mills to large industrial
factories employing many workers. It was on the top story of Walker's Mill that the first Brandywine Manufacturers' Sunday School was held in 1816. Significant in the early awareness of the workers needs, especially in the textile industry where many children were hired, the Sunday School gave the only hours of reading, writing, and "ciphering" that many employees would ever have. A son of the well-known artist, Charles Willson Peale, was an apprentice here at
Walker's Mill suffered the hazards of the other textile mills in the early 19th century--shifting tariffs, unstable markets, fires and floods. it passed through many hands until it was sold at a sheriff's sale to Alfred duPont who improved the building and rented it. One of his lessees was Joseph Walker for whom the mill is named and who operated longer than any other predecessor. Looms were introduced in 1848 after the mill was badly damaged and rebuilt by Alexis I. duPont, and the mill became a textile factory rather than just a spinning mill. It was again rebuilt in 1882 after fires. At this time Barlow and Thatcher remodeled the machinery for fine yarns and operated the mills until 1897. From 1902 the Hodgson Brothers, worsted spinners, used the mill until 1936. The following two years other tenants handled decorative upholstery fabrics. It was then used by the DuPont Company Experimental Station and in 1956 became part of the Eleutherian Mills-Hagley Foundation, used for storage and the preparation of exhibits for their museum.