Historic Butte Creek Mill burns

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Charliehorse, Dec 27, 2015.

  1. Charliehorse

    Cascade Mts - State of Jefferson USA
    Well-Known Member

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    Bummer. Loved the water wheel.

    Eagle Point's historic Butte Creek Mill destroyed in fire
    By Greg Stiles Mail Tribune
    Posted Dec. 25, 2015 at 9:59 am Updated Dec 26, 2015 at 10:27 PM .
    EAGLE POINT — The historic icon of the Upper Rogue region, Butte Creek Mill, was destroyed in a predawn fire on Christmas Day.
    Owner Bob Russell was among the first on the scene after a security company notified him shortly after 4 a.m. that there might be an intruder at the 143-year-old national landmark he acquired 10 years ago.
    The moment Russell opened the front door of his nearby home, he could see flames and feared the worst.
    "My heart sunk and I screamed to my son that the mill's on fire," Russell said. "When I arrived, there was just a wall of flame. The whole front of the mill was on fire. I thought I was in some sort of dream, because it was surreal. I was just screaming 'fire!' and there was nobody around anywhere."
    Moments later, an engine crew from Fire District No. 3 showed up, but it was too late to save what many think of as the heart and soul of Eagle Point.
    "When the fire truck came up the street, I thought 'Thank God, maybe they can get it out,' " Russell said. "But within a couple of minutes it was blowing out both ends of the mill and I knew it was over."
    Firefighters found half of the 5,522-square-foot mill engulfed in flames. A total of five engines and 18 personnel responded to the scene, including Medford Fire-Rescue and Lake Creek Rural Fire District. Firefighters continued to shower the ruins with water late into the day.

    Russell says his personal collection of antiques kept in the mill's upstairs office are gone, along with artifacts and photographs associated with the mill's history.

    "There's heartbreak knowing how important this is to our community," said Russell, who has served both as mayor and chamber of commerce leader in recent years. "It has survived 143 years and I had hoped it could be around another 143 years. It's the last water-powered flour mill operating west of the Mississippi River. We were it, and now we're gone. We may be able to salvage the mill stones, but it will never be like this again.

    "Butte Creek Mill, perched on the west bank of Little Butte Creek near downtown Eagle Point, was built in 1872. Russell, 65, and his late wife, Debbie, were the sixth owners. Water rights were assigned to what was then called Snowy Butte Flour Mill in the 19th Century. Water diverted from the creek a half-mile upstream flowed down a hand-dug canal.The mill has withstood economic swings, rampaging floods and challenges to its water rights.


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