Millrace Industrial Site History
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member TheBeanTeam
N 44° 03.266 W 123° 05.279
10T E 492952 N 4877922
Near High Street and 5th Avenue this marker details the early industrial history of Eugene, Oregon.
Waymark Code: WM8ZR
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 03/14/2006
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member TheBeanTeam
Views: 82

Many changes have occurred in the area since this marker was placed. The Agripac cannery is now gone with a Federal Courthouse taking its place. EWEB may move its operations elsewhere as well. The Market District to the west is thriving here and offers much with its pleasant atmosphere.

Marker Text:

From this point surrounding the railroad tracks to 8th Avenue was the Millrace pond and mills which formed Eugene’s industrial heart that pumped the wheels of progress for 75 years.

In the early 1850’s Lane County’s population was nearly 4,000. Wheat was an important crop to early settlers for flour, animal feed and a standard of exchange in prebanking days. The Willamette Valley’s rich soil was well suited for growing wheat but getting it milled and marketed was difficult. River navigation was undependable to the major mills in Oregon City and train transportation was not available until the 1870’s.

In 1854 Hilyard Shaw designed and financed the building of the Millrace by connecting existing sloughs with a channel dug by crews of men and horses. The harnessing of the Willamette River provided power to Eugene City.

A flour mill, sawmill, gristmill, planing mill, woolen mill, excelsior plan and furniture factory were clustered around a mill pond just east of here. Eighth Avenue supported a brewery, cannery, cider/vinegar mill and two tanning companies. The cider mill is still on 8th.

In 1855 Hilyard Shaw built and operated the Eugene, Flouring Mills. In 1869 it was sold to W.T. Osburn and J.B. Underwood, Eugene’s first mayor. Months later ownership included Dr. A.W. Patterson. In 1872 William Edris was hired as head miller and improved the four product by inventing and patenting a grain separator in 1877. That same year he became partner in the mill which was renamed Patterson, Edris and Company. New machines were added and storage capacity increased. Markets developed as far away as England.

The mill was lost to fire in 1893 and it wasn’t until 1895 that the Eugene Mill & Elevator Company was formed and hired the master builders L.N. Roney to supervise the crib type construction of the new mill, elevator and storage buildings. Over time, technology changed the emphasis for water generated power.

In 1946 another fire occurred leaving only the elevator. The Millrace pond was paved over soon after. Only two major industries still remain in this area, EWEB and Agripac Cannery. The Eugene Elevator Building, The last remnant of this water powered industrial era in Eugene, was razed Nov. 8, 1986.

Design and development of the Millrace Industrial Park and plaque was donated by Brad Perkins of Preservation Development Company. The project was approved by Eugene’s City Council and Historic Review Board. The site was prepared by the City of Eugene, commemorative plaque paid by EWEB, benches provided by LTD and photographs courtesy of Lane County Historical Museum. 10/22/90

Historic Topic: Pioneer

Group Responsible for placement: Other

Marker Type: City

Region: Willamette Valley

County: Lane

Web link to additional information: [Web Link]

State of Oregon Historical Marker "Beaver Board": Not listed

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HappyFrog (& gang) visited Millrace Industrial Site History 07/07/2008 HappyFrog (& gang) visited it
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