Saturday, September 15, 2012

Baker Mill

Alright my blog followers... I thought I would give a little history lesson today.  Last time I posted about the Last Chance Mine (click here to read that post), everyone seemed to enjoy it. So I thought I would blog about another site around Cornucopia: The Baker Mill.
WindDancer on the old Baker Mill Road
Now, unlike the Last Chance Mine, the Baker Mill is rather close to Cornucopia Lodge. It didn't take long for WindDancer and I to make our way to the original mill site.  While there is a wide variety of information about this area available on the internet, nothing compares to the book, "Stories, Legends, and some Oregon History" by Carmelita Holland. This book is out of print, but luckily the lodge still has a copy.

Baker Mill under construction
According to Holland, "The Baker Mill was planned in 1913, and constructed in 1914, under the supervision of John M. Baker who later became the manager of the Baker Mills Company. The mill equipment, some of the most modern in the west, was later moved to the mill built at the entrance of the Coulter Tunnel during the 1930s (page 89). Holland goes on to say, "The Baker Mill was a 20-stamp, 400 ton cyanide amalgamated mill... By the use of the combined mill equipment, the Baker mills were able to handle 100 ton of concentrate each day."

100 tons?! That's 220,000 pounds... or roughly the weight of a Boeing 757-200 aircraft! Talk about impressive stuff.

Sadly, the Baker Mill is hardly recognizable today. Trees grow in the concrete remains in it takes some imagination to compare the above images to the ones below.

Perhaps where the stamps once were?

Rock Pile
A tram originally ran from the Baker Mill to the Last Chance Mine to carry ore. Holland writes, "Built in 1914, this tram was believed to be the world's most out stand at 3,400 feet in length, and 425 feet off the ground at its highest place.  The span between the mill and its first tension tower was 2,800 feet (page 92)."

Looking from Last Chance Mine down towards Baker Mill

Operator Jack Moore taking Ella Ladd to the Last Chance Mine

On the way back down I passed one of my favorite spots up here at Cornucopia. It's just an old rock wall, but every time I ride a horse past I feel like I stepped into the movie National Velvet. I always wonder what this little walls purpose was...

As I was researching for this post, I found several articles that mention a 'Baker House.' Holland even mentions it, but for a brief sentence; "The prominent Baker house, located above the Baker Mill, was the subject of many photographs." I've never thought about going above the mill in search for the ruins of a house, but perhaps I shall make a short travel up there this afternoon. If I find anything I shall be sure to edit this blog post and post pics if I find anything.

Credit: Historic photos credited to the Baker County Library, Baker City, Oregon.  All other photos ©Katlin Eyre.

Oh yes... and just to finish this post of strong... I thought I'd share a picture of my new horse 'Quincy.' (previously referred to as Toby. His name is a work in progress.)

He's laughing at something funny. That's for sure!
Update/Edit:  I think I might have found the remains of the Baker House (previously mentioned in this post).  I took Quincy and Misty out for a ride this afternoon and explore that hillside. I found several notable flat locations which might be potential house locations. Each is in the general vicinity that the Baker House would have been at originally.

Notable lumber here with old nails.
Flat location with pipes to the left of lumber. 
Perhaps a rock retaining wall above possible house site.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to see some historical research here. Thanks. (and I live 4 miles from it)!