Springfield Manufacturing Company

From Lane Co Oregon

Shortly after expanding the flour mill, the corporation of the Springfield Manufacturing Company sold the mills and water power in 1872 to Byron and William Pengra. It is speculated that the rerouting of the railroad line to Eugene influenced the shareholders’ decision to sell. The Pengras operated the mills despite the lack of railroad access. In 1882, the sawmill was destroyed by fire.

The loss of the mill was considered “a serious catastrophe to the district, as it was the best sawmill in the county.” The replacement mill was built immediately after the fire by a structure three stories in height and 55x100 feet in plan. The Pengras used all of the best and newest improvements in machinery, including the new steel circular saw blades available at that time (Clarke 1983:34).

In 1884 Byron Pengra sold the sawmill and millrace to Almon Wheeler, whose operation grew until the demand for finer grades of dressed lumber exceeded the capacity of the mill. Wheeler expanded the mill in 1891. It produced cut lumber of red and yellow fir, spruce, hemlock and cedar in all grades including the finest moldings and finished lumber. Despite his success, Wheeler sold the mill to a group of Portland speculators. In 1901 the mill was owned by a law firm from Portland, which leased the operation to H.A. Skeels and Company (Clarke 1983:44-46).

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