fb pixel

Log In


Reset Password

Butte Creek Mill porch party draws a hungry crowd

7
View all photos
Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune Jay O'Neil, board chairman of the Butte Creek Mill Foundation, shows the original grinding stones during a soft opening Saturday morning at the Butte Creek Mill in Eagle Point.
Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune Jay O'Neil, board chairman of the Butte Creek Mill Foundation, guides people inside the Butte Creek Mill during a soft opening Saturday morning in Eagle Point.
Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune Guests had the chance to purchase goods at the Butte Creek Mill during a soft, front porch opening Saturday morning in Eagle Point.
Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune Guests had a chance to see the rebuild of the Butte Creek Mill during a soft opening Saturday morning in Eagle Point.
Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune Guests had a chance to see the rebuild of the Butte Creek Mill during a soft opening Saturday morning in Eagle Point.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneThe Butte Creek Mill had a soft, front porch opening Saturday morning in Eagle Point.
Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune Guests had the chance to purchase goods at the Butte Creek Mill during a soft, front porch, opening Saturday morning in Eagle Point.

By around noon, the Butte Creek Mill Foundation ran out of baking mix bags for Cowboy Cookies during its first Saturday Porch Event.

And people continued arriving. As needed, one of the volunteers would step into the two-lane road in front of the mill, which is located in the 400 block of North Royal Avenue in Eagle Point, and stop oncoming traffic so drivers could safely pull in and out of the parking area in front of the building.

Customers stood outside the storefront with arms full of baking mixes for everything from corn muffins to gingersnap cookies and the mill’s most popular item, pancake and waffle mix.

A regular bag of the pancake mix costs $10. There were special commemorative bags of the mix for $15.

On sale along with the baking mixes are logo apparel items, postcards, even original nails used in construction of the mill that operated from 1872 to Christmas Day of 2015, when a fire almost completely destroyed the building.

The original mill was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was the last commercial water-powered grist mill operating west of the Mississippi River.

One family came up to the mill from Ashland and stood outside an enclosed processing room at the mill looking in at the clean, bright work area.

“We thought it was worth the trip,” said Paula Hyatt as she balanced three bags of baking mixes in her arms as if it were babies.

She said her daughter, Nora Hyatt, 7, is studying types of producers in school and that the mill was a good example of the topic.

They were there with Paula’s father, Bob Manny. All three said they were impressed with the rebuilding completed so far.

Nora Hyatt then explained that her favorite item produced at the mill — then baked at home — are the Cowboy Cookies.

Her mother added that her daughter is “an excellent helper in the kitchen.”

It was a first chance for many to buy some of the baked good mixes they had waited years to purchase.

A small batch of mixes was created and sold in December 2020. The foundation can produce a much larger quantity of their products now that the Department of Agriculture has certified the mill to begin operations as well as to mix and package products.

Jay O’Neil, the board chairman of the mill foundation, looked happy as he described the turnout Saturday as good.

This charity organization formed in 2017 to rebuild the mill so it will be productive to help the local economy and boost tourism, as well as provide a community hub, O’Neil said.

He also promised that the volunteers would start creating more bags of baking mixes — including Cowboy Cookie mix — for next week.

Donna Salazar had just bought a variety of items at the mill Saturday, including a Butte Creek Mill tote bag.

Her favorite mixes are those for pancakes and cornbread.

“It’s a close tie between the two,” Salazar said while filling the tote bag with her other purchases.

Similar sales events will be held at the mill each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Christmas.

Salazar, a 23-year resident of the Eagle Point area, will likely be returning to buy some more mixes for her son now living in Cody, Wyoming, whom she said always appreciated the mill’s products.

“I plan to take to him some pancake mix and muffin mix,” she said.

Cost for the entire rebuilding project is estimated to be $3.2 million. The foundation has raised about $2.2 million to date.

O’Neil said he and the other volunteers hope that with more resources at their disposal that the rebuilding could be financed — and completed — soon.