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Yoder roots go deep

by: RACHEL ALDRICH - Lowell Boyce, left, runs a saw at Yoder Mill last week. David Yoder, standing with Bernadette Yoder, right, runs the mill started by his ancestor, Jonathan S. Yoder, in 1889 and handed down through the Yoder family for generations.The Yoder Mill turns 125 this month, and plans are to celebrate with a party on Saturday, June 7.

There has been a mill at the current location, 32032 S. Kropf Road, and owned by the Yoder family since 1889. The mill has burned three times – once around the turn of the century, in 1915 and again in 1934. The blacksmith’s shop, built around the turn of the century, is the oldest original building still standing on the site.

Jonathan Samuel Yoder came from Missouri in 1889, hauling the mill parts to Oregon on the train. Yoder Mill still uses some of the original parts. In the early days, besides lumber, the mill provided grain and bricks to local families.

Ralph Yoder and Albert Eyman at st Yoder Mill on Cedar Creek. This mill burned in April 1915 during shingle sawing season

by: YODER FAMILY - Largest log ever hauled by horses to the Yoder Mill. Frank Taylor and Albert Yoder pictured.

Since then, the mill has been kept in the Yoder family. David Yoder, a fourth generation Yoder, runs the mill now. His father, Russell, and uncle, Nolan, ran the mill before him, and David said it hasn’t changed much since their day.

David Yoder started helping out at the mill in 1993, but before that, he spent most of his days out logging with his father.

Lowell Boyce, a current employee at the mill, started in February 1976, when he was 19 and has worked there for 37 years. He had first come to see a steam engine, which ran the mill up until the ‘50s. Since being hired, Boyce is “here every day,” Yoder said. Boyce remembers the days he timed his hours with his chainsaw — each chain lasted about half an hour.

David Yoder, his wife Bernadette and Boyce are busy preparing for the June 7 anniversary celebration.

Yoder said he’s excited to see how many people come, especially since most people don’t realize what the inside of the mill looks like.




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