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Owner Determines to Rebuild Butte Creek Mill

Until it burned down on Christmas morning 2015, Southern Oregon’s historic Butte Creek Mill had been producing whole-grain flour products since 1872.  The mill on Little Butte Creek in Eagle Point, Ore., was the last commercially operating, water-powered mill west of the Mississippi.

Owner Bob Russell is determined to start those millstones grinding grain again.

After 100 years and several owners, Peter Crandall, a mechanical engineer, bought the mill and restored and preserved it for future generations.  Crandall developed recipes for a wide range of stone ground products that were sold in the Rogue Valley and beyond. When he retired, Crandall sought a buyer to keep the mill alive.  Russell bought the mill in 2005 and operated it until an electrical fire destroyed it beyond repair.

Today, the mill appears to be nothing but charred beams and walls, but the basement survived, along with its two 1,400 pound millstones and an adjoining antique store. With support from the community and guidance from the National Register of Historic Places, Russell plans to rebuild the national landmark.

Today the mill is a nonprofit foundation that has raised more than $230,000 of the $2.5 million cost of rebuilding.

 

Source: Crandall, Peter, interviewed by Pat Clason April 27, 2005. Southern Oregon Historical Society Oral History (or OH) 639.18; Morgan, Nick. "Butte Creek Mill raises $100,000 toward $2.5 million cost of rebuild." Mail Tribune, 14 May 2016, www.mailtribune.com/news/20160514. Accessed 22 Feb. 2017; Stiles, Greg. "Butte Creek Mill Owner set for retirement." Mail Tribune, 13 Feb. 2005, www.mailtribune.com/article/20050213. Accessed 22 Feb. 2017; Stiles, Greg. "Eagle Point's historic Butte Creek Mill destroyed in fire." Mail Tribune, 25 Dec. 2015, www.mailtribune.com/article/20151225. Accessed 22 Feb. 2017.

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Sharon Bywater of Ashland, Oregon grew up in Southern California. She taught English literature and writing at Syracuse University in New York, where she also wrote and edited adult literacy books and published freelance articles in local media. Later, she lived in Washington, D.C., where she worked as an international telecommunications policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Commerce. She has Master’s degrees in English and Communications Management.