Butte Creek Mill
A National Treasure
A Living Treasure stands rustically over Little Butte Creek, water pouring out of her antique timbered side like it has for far over a century. Her belts, pulleys and stones have not stopped turning and telling the story of the people who settled the Oregon territory. We’ve had our noses to the grindstone for more than 134 years right here on the side of Little Butte Creek in this same building turning these same millstones. That’s why we’re listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is the way we look now, and this is the way we looked way back when so… Celebrate Life Where Time Stands Still! It’s What’s Inside That Counts!
The Butte Creek Mill and General Store is still one of Southern Oregon’s favorite destinations today as people come to take home the whole grain goodness of mills flours baking mixes and many culinary treats along with a whole lot of history. The mill began operation in 1872, built by the pioneers with double-bitted axes and hand saws felled trees that were already more than one hundred years old. Foundation pillars nearly two feet square, were hewn with broad axes; the beams were morticed together and secured to one another with hardwood pegs; boards for the walls were whipsawed from logs and nailed on with hand made square nails. The mill consists of a basement and three floors.
What Makes It Work?
Water from the dam, a short walk upstream, flows in the millrace to the lower level of the mill where it turns a turbine that powers the wheels, pulleys, shafts, belts, and the millstones that power the whole milling process. Water returns to the creek through the tailrace.
Big Wheels Keep on Turning
The stones (1,400 pounds each) that do the work were quarried in France, assembled in Illinois, shipped around the horn to Crescent City and then carried over the mountains by horse and wagon and put into service more than 134 years ago. When the miller, Mike Hawkins, grinds the grain, he never lets the stones actually touch one another. He adjusts the stones so they grind the grain, the bran, and the germ so they are blended together. That’s what makes stone-ground grains taste so good. You can watch the miller, (Mike has been milling grain here since 1987), monitor the process from the main floor. Call ahead to check his schedule.
Visit http://www.buttecreekmill.com/ for more information.