Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Lumber Industry - Miller and Sons Shingle Mill...part 1 of 3.

In the last posting, I presented pictures of Miller and Sons parade float at the Sumas Roundup in 1923 and planned to follow up on a the mill itself.   The picture below was the only picture I found with the name of the company visible.  
Credited to the Central Washington University, James E. Brooks Library digital collection.
Miller and Sons shingle mill was established by brothers Clarence L. Miller (b. 1886) and Percy David Miller (b. 1889).  The brothers moved to Whatcom County from Iowa in 1910 and worked in the local lumber industry.  In 1918, they started the business, Miller and Sons, which successfully operated through 1971.   Percy sold his share off in 1921 but continued in the industry in Whatcom, Skagit and King Counties.   Clarence and Johanna Millers son Clarence Jr. was born December 23, 1921.  In 1950 Clarence Junior became a partner in Miller and Sons.  The senior Clarence was also the treasurer of the Sumas Roundup Association and can be seen pictured in my posting, Sumas Roundup "See 'em Buck, part 13 of 14

A receipt from Miller and Sons shingle mill
Printed with permission from the Wes Gannaway collection.

I was fortunate to speak with lifelong Sumas resident Josephine Fadden who used to assist with Miller and Sons banking needs.  She informed me that Miller and Sons was located on the N side of Front Street, in between the bridge crossing Sumas Creek and Cherry Street.  After the mill was removed, the site was turned into a picnic area (with free campsite for weary travelers) .  This picnic area was shut down a number of years ago and it is now overgrown with brush and blackberries  It is hard to imagine a large vibrant mill operating at this location. 
 A panorama, looking NE with Sumas Drugs to the right, taken at the intersection of Front St. (West/East) and the Burlington Northern right of way (North/South).
Photo taken by David Morgan, 12 November, 2014

Map 1 
1914 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map (portion)
Printed with permission from the City of Sumas.

Map 1 is a small portion of the 1914 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing the Cline Lumber Company's shingle mill which went into operation in 1912 (L.M. Cline, owner). 
Map 2
                             1925 revision to the 1914 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map (portion)
                                   Printed with permission from the Krieg family collection.
Map 2 shows a 1925 revision of the Sanborn Fire Insurance map and shows the Cline Lumber Co. has been taken over by the Sumas Mill Co.  The Sumas Mill Co operated the mill from sometime after 1914 until 1918 when Miller and Sons purchased it.  It appears the maps weren't revised on a yearly basis.  
The lumber industry was one of the leading early success stories here in Sumas.  There have been 18+ lumber mills in the Sumas area since the 1880s.  Those mills have been a major job source and income for the community.  The lumber industry still has an important role here in Sumas and my next posting will share more photographs and information on the topic.
See you next time!

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