Road Trip: Thompson's Mill State Heritage Site

On a recent Geocache trip we decided to tour the Thompson's Mill State Heritage Site.

Thompson's Mill is the oldest water-powered mill in the state and offers guided tours of the facility daily.

The water that powered the mill was part of the Calapooia River system.

The doorway leading into the factory there was a little set of stairs and a small hole on the bottom part of the doorway. We all asked why the hole was there and the tour guide told us a beaver had gotten trapped inside the factory floor and chewed his way out. When they came to work the following day they found the chewed marks and some beaver droppings and knew exactly what had happened. They left the hole because the story is too good not to share.

The mill was a flour mill and turned into a cattle feed mill after the original owners didn't want to keep the flour production going. It was built in 1858 and went through a remodel after a small fire.

Images of the old mill are hung around on different walls inside the factory.

The mill sewed and created its own flour and feed bags right on site, too.

The grain sorter was one of the main items at the mill that still operated.
Bags were made, filled, labeled, and then weighed for shipment.

We weighed on the scale and another man told us we weighed only "200 lbs." altogether. Ha! What a nice man.

Around the mill you can operate different grain crushers. The one on the left is a manual grain crusher that was even used back in the pioneer days to crush grain for breads and biscuits. It's a stone grain crusher that allowed the user to smash the grains into finer grain and can still be a method used today with a heavy stone. The one on the right is a more modern grain crusher that didn't work your arms as much as the stone crusher. It sorted the grains and then smashed them into dust. This grain machine is circa around early turn of the century.

In cases of a fire there were barrels around the mill filled with water and a small bucket hanging over the barrel. The idea was to get the water on the fire before it spread to other parts of the factory.

We also pinned our location on their big visitor map and couldn't help but pin Hot Springs, Arkansas, too.

Around the grounds of the mill are a lot of chickens, ducks, turkeys, and roosters. What's funny about these birds is there is a bell hanging near their food machine and once you ring that bell they come running. It was such a great idea and those birds were sure trained to know when to come, too. The Bean had a blast with it!

We had a lot of fun hunting for the Geocache while we were there. It took a little bit of math to find it, but the ones that make you think are ones we enjoy the most.

I just loved the old barn lights on the building.

If you happen to be traveling through the Shedd, Oregon area on a road trip, Geocaching, or just passing through, be sure to check out the Thompson's Mill State Heritage Site. There are other areas around Shedd, Oregon that are worth a look, too. The old house above, on the right is a historic place in Shedd. It has been remodeled by the curator of the Shedd Museum and according to the waitress at the diner across the street, the entire upstairs has been made into one large bedroom.

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