Visitors from around the globe come to the Cedar Creek Grist Mill in northern Clark County to see how early settlers used to grind wheat and corn into flour in the days before electricity.
Now a national historic site, the mill is located nine miles east of Interstate 5 from Woodland (exit 21) off Cedar Creek Road. Using a water-powered belt and pulley system and grinding stones, the grist mill is the only one of its kind still operating in Washington today.
George Woodham and his two sons built the mill in 1876. In the years that followed, farmers would take their homegrown grain to the mill by wagon for grinding. This was a festive occasion. When the work was done, farming families camped and enjoyed musical entertainments. Over the years a shingle mill, blacksmith shop, and machine shop were added to the structure.
By 1980, time, weather, and vandals had taken their toll on the building. That year a group of local residents decided to save the historic structure and formed the Friends of the Cedar Creek Grist Mill, a nonprofit volunteer organization.
Dedicated volunteers held bazaars and raffles to help raise badly needed funds for the massive restoration process. By November 11, 1989, the mill was grinding wheat in celebration of Washington State’s Centennial. A covered bridge spanning Cedar Creek was completed in 1994.
Today the Cedar Creek Grist Mill is a working museum open year-round on Saturdays, 1 to 4 p.m., and Sundays, 2 to 4 p.m. Volunteers take visitors on tours, put on baking and other cooking demonstrations, host special events, and show off their spinning, weaving, and quilting skills. To read more about the mill, visit the Web site at www.bgwa.com/the_grist_mill.htm.