I don't usually intentionally post a repeat image, but in the 6 1/2 years since I first posted this I've learned quite a bit about Parkertown and I want a chance to share it. In 2016 I started researching the history of mills in Post Canyon as we were trying to rediscover the site where the steam donkey down at the museum was recovered from he woods in 1959. We still haven't found that location, but I've pieced together the goings on in that very busy part of Post Canyon which we now know for recreational trails and county timber operations.
Note the original post shared the location of Parkertown as "near Greenpoint." It was actually near the intersection of Binns Hill Road and Riordan Hill Road, which is the current location of the Binns Hill staging area. That's Jack Binns in this photo (above the arrow). He got a road named after him, and Parker got a town. Who would have thought the road name would stick better than the town?
Doug Thieses (Hood River County Forester) and I hope this history will eventually be used to produce some interpretive panels for the forest at the original site. Here's the raw research, including a bunch of map references for those who like to poke around on the ground. Just let me know what you find!
John Parker and family arrived in Hood River in June 1881. The Coe brothers had just platted four blocks of downtown Hood River, They convinced Parker to build the first downtown building— a two story store at First and Oak. Some time after that he bought the Rodgers sawmill. In the second issue of the Hood River Glacier (June 15 1889) it mentions a man’s encounter with a cinnamon bear which he scared off in the direction of what they referred to as "Parker’s Mill."
In 1892 John Parker perfected a land patent in the area. The BLM database has it at 2N9E015 but I am not sure section 15 is correct. There are other features we know from newspaper accounts that suggest it was east of there, closer to Ditch Creek. We can probably get a copy of the actual patent deed to clarify.
By 1893 the paper ran a paragraph of “Parker Mill Notes” describing mill operations in detail. Parker also had an orchard in the area, and a nice house.
We know Jack Binns lived in the area, I believe from about 1892. An 1897 newspaper article refers to him living near Parker’s Mill.
In July 1892 it was reported the Oregon Lumber Company was moving their Mill A to the "forks of the canyon above Parkers Mill.”
In 1894, mention is made the Oregon Lumber Company was considering moving the planner from Parker’s Mill to Viento. I think “Parker’s Mill” was used a a general descriptor for the area by then. It seems there were at least two mills up there in 1894— Parker’s (originally Rodgers) and the Oregon Lumber Company.
John Parker died in 1897. His widow took in summer vacationers at their orchard near the mill until she eventually moved downtown to the “Roe-Parker House” (This was the one which was moved to make room for library expansion in 2002, and is now behind Horsefeathers). She lived there from 1905-1929.
In July 1902 it is reported the Davenport Bros. are moving their mill to better timber on the “Fred Hertz place, above the old Parkers mills.” I suspect “Parkers mills" refers to the one owned by John Parker and the one owned by the Oregon Lumber Company. Fred Hertz had an 1898 land patent on the N 1/2 of the NE 1/4 section of 2N9E023, which is just S of Binns Hill Road SW of the intersection of Binns Hill and Riordan Roads.
In 1904 a new mill was built by Davenport Bros., along with a flume from Greenpoint. I believe Stanley Smith Lumber Company bought the mill a few years later.
Starting in 1904 the newspaper referred to the section as Parkertown, and reported all sorts of agriculture, births, deaths, etc. in addition to sawmill news, so there must have been a reasonable population in the region.
The 1911 Hood River County map shows “Parkertown” at the intersection of Binns Hill Road and Riordan Hill Road, where the staging area is currently located. We’ll need to do more research to figure out where the various mills were located, but it is pretty clear there was an active logging community centered at this spot, with at least three mills over time, and it was named for John Parker. Parker wasn’t the first mill operator in the district but his name stuck, and was modernized from Parker’s Mill to Parkertown about 1904.
Perhaps the Parker building on Oak and First:
If you click the Binns tag, you will see other photos of the family. It seems like there is a photo of the Parkers at Cascade Locks, but I couldn't find it.
L.E. on 30th July 2019 @ 7:35am
Google Maps shows a Parker Springs just below Green Point Reservoir.
Harold on 30th July 2019 @ 8:13am
The referenced land patent includes part of lower Kingsley reservoir and the popular MTB trail "Dirt Surfer."
ArthurB on 30th July 2019 @ 9:12am
Can someone explain what is happening in this photo please?
nels on 30th July 2019 @ 4:47pm
I can try. There is a furnace to the right with a boiler to generate steam, which goes through the horizontal pipe to a steam engine. You can see the regulator (two balls hanging down) on the engine so it is not in operation. That device would set the engine RPM. You can also see the flywheel, which is a very heavy spinning disk which smooths out the steam piston strokes so it doesn't stop every time the piston reverses or a log hits the blade. Someone has drawn in the drive pulley, which would power a saw which cuts the logs.
Only two of the men seem to have work associated with operating the mill. The rest are hanging around for the photo.
ArthurB on 30th July 2019 @ 5:07pm
Thanks Arthur. That explains the ghost wheel. And the person on the right?
nels on 31st July 2019 @ 9:15am
The man on the right has a tool to open and close the burner doors so he can stoke the fire with wood scraps.
ArthurB on 31st July 2019 @ 9:41am
John Parker apparently had 2 patents perfected in 1892. The other patent was for the Southeast Quarter of Section 14, same township & range
Peter on 13th August 2019 @ 9:20pm