Cedar Creek Grist Mill a Clark County staple since 1876

Cedar Creek Grist Mill is open for tours from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The current of the Lewis River provides the power for Cedar Creek Grist Mill, a Clark County staple in Woodland since 1876.

For more than 4 decades, Fred Schulz has been one of the volunteers helping to carry on the legacy. The fascination he has for the Cedar Creek Flour Mill that’s why he knows everything about how it works.

“When I heard that people were restoring this mill, I thought I would like to be a part of it. And the idea of ​​using water power to make, to turn a tree, to generate electricity and things like that (was) something that I had always tried to do since I was a little boy too,” Schulz said. “And so here I had my chance.”

So how does it work?

Fred Schulz volunteers at Cedar Creek Grist Mill in Woodland, Washington, April 2022 (KOIN)

“We take the water out of our intake and it comes back to our canal. We have screens in there to keep fish from getting tangled in our water turbine and then we put the water back in the river,” he said.

In the beginning, the Cedar Creek Grist Mill was a place where farmers brought their grain. Over the decades it has gone through different names, owners, closures and reopenings. It is no longer a business. An old place like this could easily be left in the dust.

This is exactly what happened for several decades.

Then, about 40 years ago, volunteers – like Schulz – with the Friends of Cedar Creek Grist Mill tried to preserve it.

“We just installed a waterwheel governor here that’s designed to keep the turbine speed constant during load fluctuations,” he said.

Much work is still needed to preserve the mill. Sometimes, he says, “the logs get swept under the mill and the high water. We need to keep this clean.

Maintenance ranges from fixing a leaky roof to sweeping the floor. Schulz said they “grease and oil the machines from time to time”,

Volunteers usually volunteer because they like a particular organization. For Fred Schulz, he and the others love this place and respect its history.

“People started with nothing and the way they put up with it all, the hard work, the uncertainty, the accidents, the deprivation didn’t bother them,” he said. “They just kept moving forward.”

Visitors get a fascinating and fun experience, including the chance to see a machine grinding corn into cornmeal. Schulz hopes it will spark inspiration.

“You see little kids going through here and they wonder how it all works. You wonder if maybe you have young mechanical engineers coming in when you show them this,” he said.

The Cedar Creek Grist Mill is only open for tours from 1-4 p.m. on Saturdays. Need more volunteers to open on Sundays. They’re also looking forward to bringing back events, like their annual cider press with fresh apples, in late October.