Abandoned: Maryland Grist Mill & Philadelphia AME Church

Tonight’s premiere of the new series Abandoned is a doubleheader, with the team visiting two historic sites filled with potential lost treasures. After searching through each of the sites and negotiating selling prices, Jay selects items for refurbishment, creating some truly one-of-a-kind pieces.

Photo: Though the interior of the mill is in bad shape, the place reeks of history. Every wood gear, cog, and post was hand made 200 years ago, and is still intact today.

Maryland Grist Mill

The Abandoned team, Jay, Dan, and Mark, search for forgotten relics in a rare historic gem —a 19th-century grist mill in Westminster, Maryland that’s been abandoned for decades. During its heyday, farmers brought their grains here to be ground into flour, and the mill was a bustling cornerstone of trade for the local community. Now, the team moves through the dilapidated structures on the property, hunting for valuable objects, some of which may even date back to when the place first opened its doors. In each building, they discover a myriad of historic relics, from antique farming equipment to old-fashioned cooking devices. But the old grist mill is where they come across their biggest payoff . A temple to the art of pre-industrial engineering, it’s an impressive structure that turns out to be a salvager’s paradise. In a pile of rubble, they uncover a set of artistic ceramic tiles from the late 19th century that Jay believes are worth a lot of money.  He’s determined to save the beautiful tiles and his other big find, an authentic grist grinder, before they’re lost in the rundown buildings, already falling apart.  But to do this, he must negotiate with the mill’s owner, a man who’s attached to the property and is clearly not ready to let go.

Photo: The Ruffin Nichols Memorial Church was built in 1844 as an Episcopal church serving a wealthy Philadelphia community.

Philadelphia AME Church
On this episode of Abandoned, the team heads to historic Philadelphia to explore an abandoned gothic church. The magnificent structure, which dates back to 1844, is set to be demolished in 60 days. Knowing forgotten treasures may be hidden inside, they set out to save these items from destruction and turn a handsome profit.  Inside the building, they navigate the dark hallways and make their way to the sanctuary. In many churches, this is the most lavish area where the most valuable items are kept. The room holds several treasures but one immediately stands out —a stunning set of stained-glass windows, crafted by a renowned Italian artist. The windows are a striking reminder that a wealthy congregation spared no expense in decorating these halls. Along with the stained-glass, the team uncovers other valuables throughout the building.  In the basement, they come across several recreational items that suggest this was where the congregation gathered to socialize. Among the objects found were a set of parallel bars, bowling equipment,  and a set of rare, tin gas lights. Determined to take home these relics, Jay now sets out to negotiate with the owner. If he closes the deal, he can bring these historic pieces back to life.


Don’t miss the series premiere of Abandoned tonight, August 22nd, with Maryland Grist Mill at 9P and Philadelphia AME Church at 9:30P et/pt.


  1. Lisa Johnson
    Newtown, Ct
    August 22, 2012, 1:40 pm

    Hey! These guys came in the New Colony V diner, a week ago! I had the pleasure of waiting on them!
    Looking foward to watching the show!

  2. Dalt C
    August 22, 2012, 10:14 pm

    Your show is kinda bull ****, my mother is like an antique expert shes done this kinda stuff her whole life and looking through the barns there’s no cob webs or dirt! Show looks like a big setup I’d love to talk to these guys in person, your throwin stuff aside like corner cabinets which are worth a couple thousands and ignoring the stuff that’s dying to be saved!! Almost gave my mother a heart attack…

  3. Lauren
    August 22, 2012, 10:19 pm

    Love the show! Jay is sharp and very good looking. Would love to see all the items after he fixes them up. It’s interesting and funny and I could watch jay all night.

  4. Mike
    August 22, 2012, 10:21 pm

    I’d like to work with Jay. Do they need another helper? I love what they do and find the history interesting. Great show – I will always watch.

  5. Delaney
    August 22, 2012, 10:24 pm

    Wow! Jay could be a movie star – he’s a real man and I love the way he operates. I enjoyed the show and will continue to watch. Would like to see the finished relics. I would like to bid on an item. Thanks for a terrific show.

  6. john noonan
    shelbina, mo
    August 22, 2012, 11:00 pm

    great show with great cause—thx

    ps: i really need the apple peeler u found, to replace one just
    like it i broke last week—thx jack

  7. Bobbi Stettler
    Allentown, PA
    August 23, 2012, 12:13 am

    Love the show and these guys are really close to my hometown. I love going through old abandoned buildings and can’t imagine how fun it must be to do it for a living. Lucky guys!! Let me know if you ever want to expand out towards the Lehigh Valley. I’m your girl.

  8. Dave Szacik
    Belmont, NH
    August 23, 2012, 9:11 pm

    Interesting show! But I gotta ask, that looked like a very nice tracker organ, what happened to it?

  9. Erica
    August 23, 2012, 10:01 pm

    FABULOUS SHOW!!!! Very interesting and very entertaining. Dan, Mark and Jay make a great team. I will watch every week and DVR so I won’t miss out.

  10. Dr. Dill Doe
    Gwynn's Island, Virginiaq
    August 25, 2012, 1:50 pm

    In the chancel of the Philadelphia church featured in this week’s episode, there was a beautiful organ case with stenciled facade pipes. The folks apparently weren’t interested in the organ as it was never mentioned and not even given a good shot, just passing glimpses of it as they traipsed through the sanctuary drooling over the stained-glass windows and carved wooden pews. It’s a real crime that the facade wasn’t saved as it really was gorgeous and surely could have found a new home somewhere.

    The show seems very crass to me. The men did make token, somewhat joking gestures toward being reverent “in the Lord’s house,” but clearly they were more interested in making a profit on the abandoned fixtures and furnishings, looking around and placing speculative dollar figures on everything.

  11. Mark Tyler
    Philadelphia, PA
    August 25, 2012, 7:08 pm

    As a pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the city of Philadelphia and being very familiar with the building featured in this show, I am extremely disappointed by the producers choosing to characterize this property as being “abandoned” by the AME Church. It was not abandoned, it was sold to a developer. Someone should take the time to get the facts straight before giving the impression that America’s oldest African American Christian denomination is in the business of just walking away from our properties. I hope that National Geographic will take the time to get the website right and tell the story as it is, not as it wants it to be.

  12. Wayne
    El Paso, TX
    August 25, 2012, 9:05 pm

    It’s a crying shame to bulldoze that church. Granted it takes longer, but the salvage of the building materials would be of higher value than knocking it down and ruining everything.

  13. Joan
    August 25, 2012, 11:29 pm

    Formally from Philly it is so sad to see the detereoriation of the city and these magnificent buildings. Why can Europe preserve their historic buildings in good shape for so much longer? We just let it all rot away and will have no history for the children of the future.

  14. Southdcx
    Washington, Dc
    August 27, 2012, 6:32 am

    Why would you pull parts off an intact grist mill to make coffee tables?

  15. Joanna
    August 31, 2012, 12:41 am

    Dan is so cute and sweet telling everyone to be careful. Gotta love them cheesesteaks eyy Dan. Interesting show

  16. George
    September 6, 2012, 3:11 pm

    Outstanding show. The guys on the show, Rick and crew, are great. I never miss an episode. The show is both entertaining and historically educational. I truely envy you guys. I would love to be able to go out and explore the property’s and recover the stuff that you do. Keep up the good work. Hope the show stays on for a long, long time. Best of luck in your endeavors.

  17. Dant2590
    Baton Rouge, LA
    September 15, 2012, 10:22 am

    Did anyone find out anything about the organ in the church? I too was very interested. It did not look like a tracker and I’ve gone back and watched it and stopped the show. The console has the AGO radiating pedalboard, and the fact that it’s sitting in the front of the choir loft makes me believe it’s electric action, MAYBE a Austin Organ?? Perhaps it was placed behind an original tracker facade? I’d be very interested in knowing if anything was done, or is the building coming down with it still in the building??

  18. joey
    September 19, 2012, 9:19 pm

    i just watched ur show an i think u ripped the old man off on the two barns an u know it tht was not right the one car u got would have sold for more then wht u told him an tht was the first time i watched ur show an didnt like the way u done them ppl they shud have called the guys from pickers or pawn stars

  19. Oh Great Lisa
    Ocean CIty, MD
    September 20, 2012, 11:58 am

    I’m so sorry to see so many complaints about the show. I love the show and to those complainers we see a very tiny amount of time in the show compared to the time spent there going over things. We don’t know that certain things were not discussed and didn’t make it. Complaining about prices?? Think about what it costs them to move all the stuff. He’s got a big payroll and it’s not cheap to move all that stuff. It’s big bucks to bring in cranes. He shows his profits but that is not including what it costs to transport things there and his help. Joey the man was happy with what he got and he got to keep the car he wanted. To me it’s worth a bit less to get rid of everything at one time and save myself the hassle of multiple buyers and cleaning up what doesn’t sell. It’s a nice family show. They don’t cuss, They are fun to watch, You learn things. Quit belly-aching and watch and enjoy or change the channel. It’s a great new show and a lot of people feel the same way as I do.

  20. Lisa Johnson
    Newtown, Ct
    September 20, 2012, 7:14 pm

    Hey Guys, great show, come back to Ct to the diner, I want to see you again!!!!

  21. Margaret Lazenby
    Riverside, CA
    September 28, 2012, 9:51 pm

    From the episode about the AME Church in Philadelphia, what happened to the photos of the ministers? Interested in purchasing them. Love the show!

  22. Elizabeth Killian
    Findlay, Oh
    September 29, 2012, 3:17 pm

    I find the constant “hey guys, check it out” and the also constant “OH this is creepy” to be way annoying. It’s an abandoned old building, what do you expect, the Taj Mahal? Just holler “look at this.” Nit picking? I suppose so but the show seems to be a wanna be and a set up.

  23. Laura
    Alberta, Canada
    November 20, 2012, 1:37 am

    I’d love to know what happened to the bench from the old church! I want it in my house! We were floored by the low appraisal it was given. Contact me!

  24. Curt
    United States
    December 20, 2012, 2:58 pm

    Worst new fake “reality” show on TV .. .You turned off the lights in the hallways of the church so you can use a flashlight. (you can clearly see the exit lights and the next hallway are lit.) The worst part was the drama about taking the doors off because they were locked and no one had been in the sanctuary for a long time. . Funny part is the doors came apart in the middle before they came off the hinges so they were clearly not locked. Then when you got inside the room all the lights were already on. Obvious the building was not abandoned and still had utilities. .

  25. Philip
    May 2, 2013, 4:23 pm

    I’m shocked about the fact that the church was demolished! It’s like destroying history.

  26. sammy
    Rhode Island
    August 22, 2013, 9:42 am

    Jay is real easy on the eyes. I’d like to hold his flashlight for him.

  27. Sue
    October 17, 2013, 3:24 pm

    What happened to the furnishings in the AME Church that the guys did not take? It seems like a horrible waste to let them be demolished with the building. If the building was abandoned in 2010 as stated on the show, why didn’t the congregation or someone representing the congregation have a huge sale of all the woodwork, pews and beautiful glass windows? I’m sure there are churches or individuals who would purchase these items and use them in some capacity. That would make more sense than just letting everything sit there and rot and then be destroyed with the building.

  28. Wesley
    June 19, 2014, 7:50 pm

    Regrettable, Methodist Church have sold this beautiful temple! Why did not continue? What led to closing? I was sad to know here in Brazil, that churches are being closed! Sad reality …