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News / Clark County News

Cedar Creek Grist Mill only open three hours on Saturdays; Woodland-area site needs volunteers

Castle Rock resident steps up to repair mill's rotting wooden foundation

By Chrissy Booker, Columbian staff writer
Published: May 8, 2024, 6:08am
4 Photos
The Cedar Creek Grist Mill is sprouting rot and in need of repair.
The Cedar Creek Grist Mill is sprouting rot and in need of repair. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian files) Photo Gallery

For the past three years, the wooden foundation of the Cedar Creek Grist Mill east of Woodland has been rotting due to excessive moisture from the creek below.

Jeffrey Berry, a longtime member and former president of the Friends of the Cedar Creek Grist Mill, reached out Monday via Facebook seeking help. Less than a day later, Castle Rock resident Butch Ogden stepped up to the task.

“We were contacted by the same fellow that provided us siding for a project about 15 years ago so we know it will be a perfect match,” Berry said Monday in a Facebook post.

Ogden, who runs his own farm, cut and donated lumber to the mill when rot appeared years ago. His wife let him know about the recent Facebook post, and he didn’t hesitate, Ogden said.

“I’m very into old equipment and historical stuff. I was very impressed with the mill when I visited and what they were doing up there,” Ogden said. “We feel strongly about things like this, so I’m really glad we could help out in this way.”

Ogden said he and a couple others will help install the fresh lumber once the weather allows.

But Berry still hopes to recruit more volunteers to expand the mill’s public hours. It’s only open from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

“We used to be open every Sunday for almost 30 years,” Berry said. “We don’t have the volunteers to do that now. We really wish we could have another handful of volunteers to help us. If we could even get two or three more that would just be phenomenal.”

For the past 24 years, Berry has volunteered for the nonprofit that acts as the mill’s custodian. He said numbers have decreased over time because many original volunteers have died or retired.

The Cedar Creek Grist Mill, 43907 N.E. Grist Mill Road, is a historic landmark and one of the only remaining water-powered grist mills in Washington. The mill, which rests on a steep slope within a secluded section of Cedar Creek, was originally built in 1876 and restored in the 1980s.

The Cedar Creek Grist Mill is also a working museum where visitors can see the process of churning to produce flour, cornmeal and even apple cider. Visitors can see the mill in action through public tours and even bring their own grains for grinding.

Volunteers at the mill host food events on the last Saturday of most months, including a Cider Pressing Day, Blueberry Pancake Day and Cornbread Day.

If You Go

What: Cedar Creek Grist Mill Fry Bread Day

When: 1 to 4 p.m. May 25

Where: 43907 N.E. Grist Mill Road, Woodland

Cost: Free admission and fry bread

Information: cedarcreekgristmill.org

The next tasting event at the mill is Fry Bread Day from 1 to 4 p.m. May 25. Community members can enjoy fresh fry bread made from flour milled on-site. Admission and fry bread are free.

For more information, visit cedarcreekgristmill.org.

Those interested in volunteering can contact Berry at grist_miller@yahoo.com.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.