150 Facts From Butte Creek Mill History

150 Things From

 Butte Creek Mill History

 

  1. On a cold February day in 1872, Eber Emory and John Daley purchased the land along Little Butte Creek for a flour mill.
  2. In March 1872 Daley and Emory purchased the right of way for the millrace from landowner John Mathews.
  3. The millrace is about 1/3 mile long running parallel to the creek with a 12’ - 14’ drop along the length so gravity could bring the water flowing into the mill. 
  4. John Mathews was the son of a slave woman from North Carolina and became a rancher and farmer in Eagle Point.
  5. The wood for the mill came from Big Butte Saw Mill in Butte Falls.
  6. The lumber for the mill was cut by hand with a “misery whip saw” and the giant 12” and 14” square beams were hand hewn with a broad axe. 
  7. All the lumber was hauled from Butte Falls to Eagle Point by horse and wagon.
  8. The original framework beams were joined mortise and tenon style, then secured with oak pegs (tree nails). 
  9. The walls of whipsawed lumber were nailed to the frame with square nails.
  10. The walls of the grain storage bins were horizontally stacked 2x6’s nailed with the same 4” square nails.
  11. In October 1872 the first floor of the mill was raised!
  12. The millstones were quarried near Paris, France and are what is known as French Buhr stones, a type of volcanically melted quartz, and are 20 times harder than granite.
  13. The stones were shipped to Moline, Illinois to be assembled. Moline comes from the French word for “mill” - moulin. The town had numerous types of mills.
  14. From Moline the millstones were loaded onto barges and sent to New Orleans and placed on a ship that traveled around Cape Horn, Chile, then all the way to Crescent City, California. 
  15. From Crescent City the two millstones weighing 1400 lbs. each, as well as milling equipment, were loaded onto an ox cart and hauled to Eagle Point along the Jacksonville Road. 
  16. The upper millstone is called the “runner stone”. The lower millstone is called the “nether stone”. 
  17. Milling hard grains wears down the stones so every few years the miller must “dress” the stones.
  18. To dress the stones, the runner stone needs to be raised using a crane mechanism.
  19. The runner stone is then flipped over and both stones can be viewed by the miller to see the wear.
  20. The furrows, or grooves, on the stones need then to be cleaned, chiseled, and balanced to expose the rough edges so they are even. The process can take up to a week to complete!
  21. The Butte Creek Mill did not have an exterior water wheel for power.
  22. The Mill is powered by a water turbine.
  23. The Leffel style turbine is in a 10 ft. x 10 ft. open concrete “pen” 12 ft. down in the basement of the Mill.
  24. The turbine sits above a hatch door, called a floodgate. 
  25. When the door is opened, the pressure of water coming into the mill trying to flow out that door turns the turbine to bring power to the millstones.
  26. The water then returns to the creek out the side of the mill!
  27. Ten months after the first floor was raised, the mill was completed.
  28. On August 30, 1873 the first wheat ran through the cleaner and was dried. 
  29. The first customers had their wheat ground into flour on September 10, 1873.
  30. The terms of payment for the customers was “the 8th bushel, or an exchange” which means that the miller kept one out of seven bags of flour.
  31. A grinding capacity of 40 barrels of flour a day was achieved.
  32. Daley and Emory Butte Creek Mills was the first name for the mill.
  33. In 1878 Ebor Emory and John Daley dissolved their partnership.
  34. John’s son Adoniram (A.J.) and his grandson, George Washington Daley took over the mill operations.
  35. A.J. and George ran a lumber mill and a general store on S. Shasta Street, also known as Little Butte Market Street, in their spare time. 
  36. These two renamed the mill Snowy Butte Mill.
  37. A picture of Snowy Butte, also known as Mt. Pitt or currently Mt. McLaughlin, was printed on the flour sacks that had the highest grade of flour. The more the flour was sifted the whiter it became and they could get more money for that as it had the perception of being a superior flour.
  38. The lesser quality flour, or dark flour, was the siftings from the flour off the stones. They sold that in flour sacks printed with a large Indian Chief’s head and stamped “Big Chief”. The irony is that the Big Chief flour had all the germ and bran in it and was therefore the superior flour nutritionally! 
  39. Hundreds of Indians made the 90 mile trek from Fort Klamath to the Snowy Butte Mill to get their winter’s supply of brown flour. 
  40. They were able to trade leather goods and huckleberries for the flour. 
  41. In 1889 some men in Eagle Point wanted to build a competing flour mill down the road from the Snowy Butte Mill. It would be a Roller Mill as opposed to a stone ground mill.
  42. The new mill was to be across from the Catholic Meeting House on James Fryer’s property. 
  43. A.J. got to work setting up his Snowy Butte Mill to have rollers put in. 
  44. By September 1890 he had the job done and the mill became a roller mill, with the millstones and equipment being put in storage. 
  45. The other men abandoned their idea for a competing flour mill.
  46. Stone-ground flours are more nutritionally sound because they still have the germ and bran - the parts that have the flavor, good nutrients, and fiber. Our milling of whole wheat flour processes the entire kernel.
  47. Roller mills separate flour as it is ground and the rollers crush and grind the wheat and remove the outer coating, the bran, of the wheat kernel. The heat that is generated also causes some of the nutrients to be lost in the process. 
  48. Twenty years later, in October 1892,  A.J. and George Daley sold the mill to a company of Jacksonville residents for $10,000.00. They renamed it the Snowy Butte Roller Flouring Mill Company. 
  49. George Daley stayed on to work at the mill.
  50. They turned out an average of 50 barrels of flour a day!
  51. The flour was packed and hauled to the Central Point railway to be shipped.
  52. After four years of running the mill, in October 1896 one of the four owners, William Holmes, along with two of his brothers and Harry Carlton, took ownership of the mill.
  53. They kept the Snowy Butte name.
  54. The Holmes Bros. won a “First Premium” designation for their flour at the Oregon Industrial Exposition in 1898.
  55. Eagle Point became an incorporated city in 1911. 
  56. These brothers ran the mill successfully for 20 years, then in April 1916 they in turn sold the mill to another set of brothers - F.S. Brandon and G.W. Brandon.
  57. The Brandon Bros. added equipment to steam and roll barley and oats.
  58. The mill was mainly a farmer’s exchange and custom mill at this point in its history.
  59. During WWI the Brandons were involved in the war effort.
  60. The Medford Mail Tribune reported on May 3, 1918 that the mill was running full capacity to fill a government contract for 70,000 barrels of flour. 
  61. George Brandon served as the Eagle Point Town Marshall in 1919.
  62. He was responsible to enforce the law about stock animals not running loose around town.
  63. He captured four of Walter Wood’s pigs (Walter Wood of the famous Wood House on Hwy. 62), and Mr. Wood was not happy about that!
  64. Some of George Brandon’s actions made locals unhappy and he lost community support.
  65. Soon after, for reasons unknown, the Snowy Butte Mill closed and the property went to the Eagle Point Bank in 1919. 
  66. The abandoned mill sat silent for over 12 years.
  67. In 1932 Mrs. Campbell, the president of the Eagle Point bank, decided to begin repairs of the mill and get the machinery back in place. 
  68. She hired some local men to work on the project, but they proved to be unable to do the job. 
  69. Enter George Putman and family…
  70. George and Minnie Putman arrived in Medford from Missouri in 1925. 
  71. He was a man of many talents: he owned his own butcher shop; was a cowboy for six years; he owned his own flour mill; and he was a Pinkerton Detective for a short time! 
  72. He originally started farming in the Medford area and worked for the Owen Oregon Lumber Co. (Medford Corp.).
  73. George heard about the repairs being done on the flour mill in Eagle Point and he, along with his two sons Ed and Frank, accomplished the task of getting the mill working again.
  74. Frank Putman worked on the mechanics of utilizing the water power to get the mill running. 
  75. Mrs. Campbell, of the Eagle Point Bank, was so glad the mill was running again she offered the Putmans the mill and 3/4 acres of adjacent land to them for $600.00. They paid for the mill with 2 buckets of silver dollars! 
  76. They couldn’t pass up the offer and the Putman Bros. Feed and Seed was open for business on November 20, 1932!
  77. George and his son Ed ran the mill and feed store.
  78. Frank, knowing the business was in capable hands, bought and operated the lumber mill in Eagle Point, located where the Eagle Point High School is today.
  79. The railroad went along Buchanan Ave. to the lumber mill to pick up fresh milled lumber. 
  80. George’s wife Minnie passed away in 1937.
  81. Ed Putman lived with his dad, as well as his sister Christina America Putman Linder and her two boys John and George Linder. Christina kept house and cared for the family.
  82. Frank Putman married Gertrude Adamson and had two daughters - Diane and Celia.
  83. Gertrude really knew her wheat! Celia remembers that she knew how much gluten was in the ground flour and what was needed for the best bread baking.
  84. It was 1945 when George Putman decided to restore the Mill fully to a grist mill by putting the millstones back in place. He secured the water rights again.
  85. During the WWII years Frank spent time in Portland building ships and sent money home to help the family and the mill survive during the war times. 
  86. John and George Linder remembered cleaning out the grain bins above the Milling Room and that their grandfather George made sure everything was super clean!
  87. Besides a Feed Store, George used his butchering skills to open an animal processing section on the north side in the building. 
  88. Customers brought their slaughtered animals to the mill and hung the carcass on a hook attached to a track at the front door leading into the mill.
  89. The track led to the processing area where the cutting and wrapping of meat commenced. 
  90. George Putman installed about 500 meat lockers in the butcher section that were available to residents to rent for freezer storage. 
  91. The meat lockers were cooled with ammonia in pressurized tanks with the pipes running under the mill.
  92. The mill was then named Putman Bros. Feed and Lockers.
  93. The Feed Store sold freshly ground flour, farming implements, horse medicine, vet supplies, animal feed, garden resources, and ground corn.
  94. Some of the milled flour went to bakeries and the Grange Co-op once a week.
  95. At this time the milling room wasn’t framed in so it was open for all customers to see the milling process up close. 
  96. The mill outhouse was located on the bit of land between the mill and the former mill storage building. The storage building had also been the Ladino Cheese Factory and is now Bob Russell’s Antique Store. 
  97. Ed Putman was a former mayor of Eagle Point and active in civic and fraternal groups.
  98. On February 12, 1962 as he left home for a City Planning Commission meeting during his 2nd term as mayor, he sadly passed away, to the great shock of his family and community. 
  99. Equally difficult was the passing of George Sr. a few months later on May 4th. 
  100. Frank Putman took over running the Mill and Feed Store as his lumber mill had closed by then.
  101. George, Ed, and Frank Putman are remembered by family members as men you could trust, always helping people, and frequently did without so they could give what they had to others in the community.
  102. After Frank passed away, his family found his bookkeeping notebooks with pages listing debts owed to him. 
  103. The Putman family was very civic minded! Ed Putman was the mayor of Eagle Point for nearly two terms, his nephew George Linder served on the Eagle Point City Council and his wife Laree Linder served as the mayor!
  104. Frank ran the Putman Bros. Feed Store and Cold Storage for 10 years after George Sr.’s passing.
  105. In 1972 the Putman family sold the mill to Peter and Cora Crandall.
  106. Peter was a former engineer and avid antiques collector.
  107. The Crandalls worked tirelessly to keep the mill a water-powered flour mill.
  108. Peter’s engineering expertise came in handy as he kept the equipment in good shape.
  109. Cora added her management and baking skills and together they began to make the mill into a commercial milling operation.
  110. To survive as a business, they created a Country Store in place of the Feed Store.
  111. Peter and Cora and their family developed numerous baking mixes and packaged fresh ground flour and baking goods for customers.
  112. Whole grains and corn that were delivered to the mill to be ground were transported from the front of the mill up to the third floor to the grain bins via an auger.
  113. Peter and Cora officially named the mill the Butte Creek Mill. 
  114. In 1976 the Crandalls were able to get the mill on the the National Register of Historic Places. 
  115. Peter Crandall transformed the building next to the mill, the former Ladino Cheese Factory, to a place housing his personal collection of antiques. It was set up as an old time General Store and he gave personal tours to customers.
  116. Peter Crandall created the iconic 1872 Butte Creek Mill sign that was on the front of the mill building, as well as the Country Store sign that hung over the porch. 
  117. During this time, Mike Hawkins became the miller for the Butte Creek Mill.
  118. Mike learned all aspects of milling - the mechanics involved, regulating the water flow of the creek, grinding all kinds of grains, cleaning and dressing the millstones, mixing products, and helping manage the business.
  119. Mike worked at the mill for about 28 years. 
  120. Besides his milling skills, he played guitar and sang, notably on the front porch and during Christmas events!
  121. The Crandall family was diligent to preserve and further create a community gathering place for 33 years.
  122. In 2005, Peter and Cora passed on the care of the mill to Bob and Debbie Russell. 
  123. Bob, another avid antiques collector, and hardworking energetic Debbie kept the millstones running producing fresh flour for customers. 
  124. Bob and Debbie continued to grow the  Country Store adding new items as well as Bob’s antiques displayed around the store shelves.
  125. “Enter as Strangers, Leave as Friends” was a sign behind the counter as well as the motto in the Country Store.
  126. The Russell family worked to clear out the meat lockers as they were no longer being utilized by the community. The meat processing room had already become the packaging room by the Crandall family.
  127. That part of the mill became the shipping department and storage. Products were shipped around the country.
  128. Bob worked to make the basement another area for visitors to tour - showing the mechanics of the water power. 
  129. The Russell’s antiques were on display all around the Country Store and entryway of the Mill.
  130. Bob and Debbie started regular community events - Christmas Caroling at the Mill each December, the Vintage Fair, Gobble ‘Till You Wobble, and more.
  131. Bob put his own mark on the former Ladino Cheese Factory by opening his Butte Creek Mill Antiques store in the building. 
  132. Spices by the ounce continued to be a customer favorite!
  133. Sadly, Debbie passed away in September 2015, and Bob and daughter Kristen continued running the mill.
  134. Christmas morning, 2015, 4:00 a.m. - fire broke out above the milling room.
  135. In a few hours a good portion of the mill had burned. 
  136. While the embers were still smoldering, “We Will Rebuild” was heard and plans were started for clean up.
  137. From the beginning it was a community effort.
  138. Countless volunteers worked hundreds of hours for months to sift through the rubble and clear debris.
  139. The cause of the fire most likely started in the space between the milling room ceiling and the floor of the grain bin room above the milling room. It was thought to be an electrical spark that smoldered on Christmas Eve then ignited early Christmas morning.
  140. No insurance company in the United States had been willing to insure the mill from fire because of the age and construction. Lloyd’s of London provided insurance but not enough to cover reconstruction.
  141. In January 2017 the Butte Creek Mill Foundation was formed to “Rebuild the Mill”.
  142. Grants were written, fundraisers were held, and the community generously donated to raise much of the needed funds, with the total need for rebuilding estimated at about $2.5 million at that time.
  143. By September 2018, $1.7 million was raised including government grants and in-kind donations. 
  144. Treeborn Timbercrafts in Ashland began to “rebuild it like it is 1872!” in August 2018 with the first hand hewn beams of the first floor going up. Ian Dilworth used mortise and tenon construction secured with wood pegs, just like the original building. 
  145. Thankfully the basement with the machinery and three walls of the Country Store were intact so we were able to stay on the National Register of Historic Places. 
  146. The millstones survived as they were covered by wheat that fell from the grain bins above them during the fire. There had been a large grain delivery just a few weeks before the fire so there was a lot of wheat that came down! 
  147. Millwrights came from Washington state to help restore the milling equipment and get the stones turning again. The millstones ground wheat again for the first time after the fire in the fall of 2020! 
  148. Community volunteers worked diligently to help with the non-code interior construction work, finishing work, and preparing to be able to mill wheat, mix products, and package products on site, including Eagle Point High School welding students who constructed the porch railings.
  149. The original recipes for the mixes developed by the Crandalls survived and are being mixed and packaged once again at the Mill. It is now anticipated that milling will be on a more regular basis soon.
  150. The Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit run with an all volunteer, hard working Board and countless dedicated volunteers continuing to work to complete the rebuilding of the Butte Creek Mill to be the hub of Eagle Point for locals and visitors from around the world once again!