Mitchell Pine Sawmill is part of early mill history
Edward Spoo began mill operations near Sisters in 1923. Timber was purchased from local farmers and the federal government. The mill was moved in 1927 to a better timber site. The operation was a circular saw set up with about 30,000 board feet per shift. He had his sons begin work in the mill, and the company was named E.H. Spoo & Sons Lumber Co. A new mill was built just north of Sisters in 1938 and had a much larger production of lumber.
C.G. Hitchcock purchased the Sisters mill in 1940. Ed and his sons Bud and Bob moved operations 11 miles east of Mitchell, Oregon, and built a 7-foot band sawmill complete with steam power, electric generators, a log pond, mill camp, bunkhouses, cookhouse, logging operations and lumber yard. It was named the Mitchell Pine Lumber Co. The mill was located in a meadow along the old gravel road from Mitchell to Dayville.
The timber for mill operations was purchased from local ranchers for an average price of $1 per MBF. Lumber produced by the mill was sold to Pine Products Corp. in Prineville. The green lumber was sold for $20 per MBF delivered to Prineville. Air-dried lumber was sold for $24 per MBF.
All the logging operations were done by the Spoo Company. Since it was an isolated region mill, logging operators were housed at the mill site. The rough roads leading from the mill to Prineville was hard on equipment. Eventually, a state highway was built in 1947. The mill was overhauled with new equipment in 1942. The mill prospered in the aftermath of World War II. The supply of timber began to diminish, and rather than compete for the remaining timber in the area, the Spoos made plans to move their operation to Eureka, California. They sold the mill operation to Walt Lidstrom of Midstate Lumber Co. The mill burned down a few years later and was not rebuilt. The only remnant of the mill is the old mill pond that rarely has water.
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