Cedar Creek Grist Mill
Photograph - Photograph
The Cedar Creek Grist Mill rests on a steep and rocky slope at the bottom of a narrow gorge. It is the only grain grinding mill in Washington that has maintained its original structural integrity, grinds with stones and is water powered.
George Woodham and his two sons built the water powered mill in 1876. Families throughout north Clark County brought their grain to the mill to be ground into flour or livestock feed.
According to an old newspaper article, debris in the swiftly flowing creek damaged the dam that first winter. In any case, Woodham moved away in 1879, taking all the equipment with him.
Mike Lynch bought the mill but it sat for seven years until he leased it to Gustave Utter. At that time a log dam was constructed about eighty feet upstream. Utter built a flume and installed the Leffel turbine, which is still in use today.
The mill quickly became the center of activity where dances and musical entertainment were held frequently.
Milling fees were often shares of grain, so Utter raised hogs, which could be sold for badly needed cash. By 1901, Utter couldn't keep the mill operating profitably, so he moved.
Gorund Roslund purchased the mill in 1905 but wasn't able to get the mill in operation until 1909. He added a shingle mill to the rear of the original structure. This addition was removed in the 1980's during the restoration. By 1912 logging was booming and a machine shop was desperately needed. Victor, one of Roslund's sons, was a mechanic and turned the entire lower floor into a machine shop.
Soon the shed on the front of the mill was added as a blacksmith shop. It was operated by Elmer, another of Roslund's sons.
Victor remained a bachelor and turned the upper floor into an apartment. Once again musical entertainments were common occurrences in the building.
Victor died in the late 1950's. The State Fisheries Department bought the property, removed the old dam and built a fish ladder.
Time and weather took its toll. The Fort Vancouver Historical Society leased the mill in 1961. They got the Mill registered as a Historical Place and replaced the rotting foundation.
April 1st, 2013
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