Recently, we attended the last demonstration day of 2013 at Sturgeon’s Mill for a photo shoot. Sturgeon’s Mill is located between Sebastopol and Graton in western Sonoma County and is a restoration project being undertaken by a local nonprofit group. Their goal is to restore this historic steam powered sawmill. Here is a bit of background info from their website:
Considered one of the last great mills of its kind, this mill has survived since 1914. It was originally built in the 1880s on the Korbel property near the Russian River. It was passed to Mr. Michael Sugarman, of the hardware store on 4th Street in Santa Rosa, and later to Mr. Meeker, for whom Camp Meeker is named.
It was purchased from Meeker by Wade Sturgeon in 1913 and was dismantled and moved to Sturgeon’s Coleman Valley site where Sturgeon began his lumber business in 1914. The mill was moved again to its current site in Occidental in 1924 where it has since remained. In 1943 Wade’s son Ralph Sturgeon and his friend James Henningsen bought and ran the mill. Now, in an effort to preserve this wonderful piece of history, this restoration project has been born.
I first learned of this mill last year when a photo group I follow did a similar shoot there. Somehow this facility had completely missed my attention and as I tend to like old rusty things, this seemed like a great place to have some photographic fun. We arrived just after opening time at 10am and were greeted with this view:
My visit to this event last year had impressed me with several facts: 1. old trailers can be fun, 2. people who fix them up are weird but also fun, and 3. one can get great photos from one of these deals. It’s all a bit of Americana and hobbyist coming together. The exhibitors are proud of their restorations and love to dress up in the period (usually 1950’s or 1960’s).