Thompson’s Grist Mill, Horner Museum

April 21, 2009

On a warm sunny morning, we enjoyed our coffee break at the Thompson's Mill State Heritage Site, which opened in 2007. This Grist Mill, located in Boston Town, dates from 1858 and was in operation for almost 150 years. Power was provided by diverting the Calapooia River into an intricate mill race system.

In 1871, the O and C R.R. by-passed Boston and went through Shedd, some 1½ miles to the West. (Payola?) Subsequently, most of the buildings in this town were moved to Shedd and Boston died, but the mill survived. For our grand tour, three excellent guides led us through this unusual and authentic restoration.

Next to the Benton County Museum, which is in the former Philomath College building, we saw the recently opened Horner collection, now housed in a new, separate building. J.B. Horner was born in Texas in 1856, his given name was Johan Baptist Swadlenack. His widowed mother married Elias Horner and he was re-named. At age 16, he entered Philomath College, and at age 17, he was awarded his teaching certificate. Eventually, he became a popular professor and lecturer at Oregon Agricultural College until his death in 1933. Because of his interest in Oregon History and Indian mounds and petroglyphs, he collected an immense quantity of everything — clothes, appliances, wagons, stuffed animals and much more. For years, these were displayed in the basement of Gill Coliseum, but for the past ten years, were in storage. It was quite an undertaking to catalog and sort out this stuff. We saw perhaps 10% of the entire collection.

Lunch was at the Gathering Together organic farm — delicious Lasagna and salad.

We then went on to the Finley N.W.R., where volunteer Sally guided us into the historic (c. 1855) Fleichter House and also the big red barn. From the Bruce Road, we viewed the old Cheadle Farm — the house is gone, but the barn remains. Mary Lee Cheadle told us many interesting stories of her life there, until the property was transferred to Finley in 1964.

Our last stop was at Hazelnut Hill for ice cream and confections. Our leader, Mary Ellen West, had persuaded owner Sally Hilles to open for our group. Our thanks for this courtesy and for another great bus trip.

Our driver was Leonard Buckner. Twenty Seven riders, including 2 non-members are listed separately. Reporter — Ray Jensen

Riders were members Alice Anderson, Barbara Beard, Paul Beard, Paula Beard, Louise Behnke, MaryLee Cheadle, Barbara Chinn, Sharon Cutsworth, Rachele Fiszman, Barbara Flanders, Dennis Flanders, Dora Harris, Margit Hollerud, MaryAnn Holser, Kess Hottle, Ray Jensen, Verna Kocken, Natalie Newlove, Barbara Payne, Don Payne, Liz Reanier, Julie Snell, Janet Speelman, Richard Speelman and MaryEllen West; and nonmembers Barbara Hottle and Mary Lou McIrvin.

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