Thompson’s Mills is a unique reminder of times past, chronicling the past 150 years of Oregon rural life. The oldest water-powered grain mill in the state, its system of waterways, dams, control gates, ditches and dikes has moved water from the Calapooia River to the mill head gates since 1858. Interpretive panels tell the story of the lives of the mill keepers and area farmers, historic water rights, and the millrace. The park is open daily.
History, Engineering, Grain Milling
Rye G. was our guide and helped enliven the experience.... At first glance, the buildings, signage, and exterior appeared dated and a little sun beaten. But the functional equipment was amazing. There were many references & lessons for students of all ages- including retirees. Water rights are key to the operation of the mill throughout history. Family care contributed to longevity of the equipment and good archiving techniques to be able to operate the venue as a historical site under care from the state park system. Changing/moderinzing the equipment to keep-up with market demands over time enabled the mill to function with a profitable purpose during its commercial history. The park rangers were very helpful and engaging. There is an "old-school" laminated set of self-guided tours- wish this would be modernized, but that"s part of the experience too. My favorite thing was the rope-drawn, self pull elevator for humans o go to the top of the silo's. My kids liked that they could touch the gears, tools, and equipment. Would recommed this visit to anyone with any curiosity about engineering, farming, grain milling, electricity or history. We made a few comparisons of this site as a microcosm of Greenfield Village in Michigan. Great venue for school children to visit in a group setting.
I drove out to see the site because it was near I5 and I needed a break. Turns out it's a very nice attractive place, and a working mill to boot. The drive out here is very peaceful indeed. You need to drive though a few miles of country roads. I even saw a bald eagle in the top of a tree at one point. The place has lots of parking, a nice restroom, and it is very nice just to walk around and enjoy the serenity. A nice person came out and talked to me for a while and answered my questions. She offered to take me on a tour, but I declined due to lack of time. Seems like a really nice place...
The entire tour was exceptionally well done & very educational. They have kept the mill totally intact & all the equipment is still completely functional. Our guide even gave us demonstration which was quite impressive. Unfortunately it is not completely handicap accessible as of yet but we managed to get the wheel chair into most parts.
The Past in Present
We had an excellent informative tour of this historic site. Katie was our tour guide; she gave an amazing presentation of the history and even showed us some of the operational aspects of this site. The tour lasts about an hour, but we asked so many questions, I think it took 1.5 hours. A step back in time
History and critters
I adore the mill but truthfully my favorite part is Lucy the domesticated Canadian goose, the very very old bard car, and all the birds. Come here for tranquility