6 years ago on this day, the Butte Creek Mill burned down

EAGLE POINT, Ore. — Many people in the Eagle Point community were devastated early Christmas morning 2015 when the Butte Creek Mill, the last of its kind west of the Mississippi, burned to the ground.

That included then owner, Bob Russell.

“It was so hot standing across the street, that you head to turn around periodically because you just got too hot from the flames,” he said.

For former executive director of the Butte Creek Mill Foundation, Mary-Ann Pitcher, the loss of the 143-year-old building reminded her of how the historical building held a memory for most of the community.

“People – everyone has a story about their time at the mill, maybe it was a field trip or when family comes to town you take them there,” she said.

While a majority of the mill was destroyed, over 30% of it survived, saving its place on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Russell sold the property in 2016 and it’s now a non-profit organization. Over the years, an exact replica of the building has been re-constructed, with a new Board of Directors taking charge of the foundation.

“[The] total estimated cost is $2.6 million,” said Butte Creek Mill Board Chair, Jay O’Neil. Since O’Neil stepped in, the mill has entered Phase 4 of its re-building process – with construction expected to be completed by early next year.

“Over here Mike is getting ready to dress the stones, this is the upper stone and that’s the one that spins and we’ll move it with the crane that we just installed.”

It had recently received permission to open partially to the public and had its first soft opening last month, selling freshly ground pancake and cookie mixes on the front porch of the new mill that stands tall where the former one once was.

“It’s been fantastic, for us it’s very rewarding to have the mill open and to have these products available. We’ve had people come by and say ‘it’s been 6 years since I had the pancake mix,” said O’Neil.

The community was eager to purchase the mixes – as they sold out by the afternoon that day.

At this point in time, $800,000 still needs to be raised in order to finish construction on the historic mill the community all know and loves.

If you’re interested in donating towards the re-construction efforts or learning more, you can visit buttecreekmill.com.

NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
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