Hours | Saturdays 1:00–4:00
Sundays 2:00–4:00
closed weekdays except for arranged tours

About the Grist Mill

A working museum

The Cedar Creek Grist Mill is a working museum, showing visitors the inside workings of a grist mill of that time period. Visitors will be greeted and given a ‘Working Tour’ of how this mill still runs today. Huge pulleys and belts spinning above and below are turning and churning to produce flour, corn meal and even apple cider. These samples are given to the visitors to take home for a first hand experience of the products. No gas or electricity are used, simply mother nature’s water power. All who work here are volunteers and are more than happy to explain how this process works.

The Mill rests on a steep and rocky slope at the bottom of the narrow gorge of Cedar Creek. It is the only grist mill in Washington that has maintained its original structural integrity, mills with stones, and is water powered. A covered bridge spanning Cedar Creek was completed in 1994 and continues to draw visitors from all over the United States.

History of the Cedar Creek Grist Mill

1876

In the late 1800’s, a migrant miller named George Woodham settled in the area north of Fort Vancouver. In 1876 along with his sons, Woodham built the grist mill, originally called the Red Bird Mill. Cedar Creek had sufficient water flow that could keep the water-powered mill in business year round. Farmers throughout north Clark County brought their grain to the mill to be ground into flour, cornmeal or livestock feed. A wagonload of grain from Brush Prairie would be a two-day trip. The family would camp on the flat area across from the mill and start home the next day.

A dam was built to form the millpond that fed water to the flume to supply the mill. According to an old newspaper article, debris in the swiftly flowing creek damaged the dam that first winter. Unable to keep the dam repaired, and with meager profits, George Woodham moved to Centralia in 1879, taking his equipment with him.


1888

Mike Lynch bought the mill but it sat unused for seven years until Gustave Utter leased it in 1888. 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 frequently held. Milling fees were often shares of grain, so Utter raised hogs, which could be sold for badly needed cash. But by 1901, Utter couldn’t keep the mill operating profitably, so he sold it and moved away.


1905

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. 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. Victor made parts for the Merwin Dam on the Lewis River that are still in use today. Soon the shed on the front of the mill was added as a blacksmith shop. Elmer, another of Roslund’s sons, operated it. Victor remained a bachelor and turned the upper floor into an apartment. Once again musical entertainment was common in the building.


1961

Victor Roslund 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.


1980

By 1980, the old grist mill had suffered from both weather and vandals. A group of local residents decided to save the historical structure and formed “The Friends of the Cedar Creek Grist Mill,” a non-profit corporation. Dedicated volunteers used broad axes and adzes to replace the posts and beams authentically. The sheds were so damaged that they were documented in detail, then removed so the restoration could be concentrated on the original structure. To get water into the mill with the dam gone, the flume was extended 650 feet up the creek to a point where the water from the creek flows directly into the intake. A dam was no longer needed. The women held bazaars and raffles to help raise badly needed funds for the massive restoration process. They also kept the men at the “work parties” fed.


1989

The group met its major goal on November 11, 1989, when it ground wheat in celebration of Washington State’s Centennial. The Cedar Creek Grist Mill became a working museum, showing visitors the inside workings of a grist mill of the 1876 time period. It is the oldest building is the state of Washington that is still doing the job that it was built to do 126 years ago.


1994

We don’t have information on when the covered bridge was first built across Cedar Creek. We do know that it was completely replaced by a truss bridge in 1935. The truss bridge could not support heavy vehicles, so a new covered bridge spanning Cedar Creek was built to replace it in 1994.


2002

The cedar shake mill and the blacksmith shop that were torn down in the 1980’s were rebuilt as close to original construction as possible.

 

Good funDemoGood living
    • Location

      43907 NE Grist Mill Road
      Woodland, Washington 98674

      Hours

      Saturday: 1PM – 4PM
      Sunday: 2PM – 4PM
      Closed weekdays, Easter, Christmas, & New Years

    • Contact us

      tours@cedarcreekgristmill.org
      Phone: 360.225.5832
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