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Sturgeon's Steam-Powered Saw Mill Events

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Sturgeon's Steam-Powered Saw Mill Events

Don’t miss the public demonstrations of our live steam-powered sawmill starting 10am – 3pm at Sturgeon’s Mill, 2150 Green Hill Rd in Sebastopol. Come watch lumber being milled on one of the few remaining steam-powered saw mills in the Pacific North West, which is n operation once again, after decades of sorrowful silence. A true marvel to behold. Demonstration dates and times are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. finishing out the season this year on, September 17 – 18 and October 15 – 16. There is no cost to visit a demonstration but donations are gratefully accepted!

By Chris ONeill

If you have not taken the time to visit Sturgeon’s Lumber Mill, in Sebastopol, during one of its four weekends of operation you are missing a piece of local history and a fantastic display of mechanical stuff.  Bring the family and enjoy a tour as well-versed docents escort small groups through the entire process, adding colorful details about the life and times of the lumber mill community.   After the tour, you’re allowed to return to any of the areas to spend a little more time.  There is no cost but donations are gratefully accepted.    You can also check out the woodland gardens created by Wade Sturgeon in the 1950s and there is great food available for purchase (more on that later). 

The mill was originally built in the 1880s on the Korbel property.  It was moved to Coleman Valley in 1913 and then to the current site on Green Hill Road in 1924.  Sturgeon’s Mill is one of the last great steam powered sawmills and has been painstakingly restored to operation by a dedicated group of volunteers who cut up big hunks of trees and turn them into boards just like they did a hundred years ago.

Sturgeon's Saw Mill when it was a working mill

I first heard about the mill from Harvey Henningsen whose family has been part of the operation since 1943 and I was immediately intrigued.  I made it to the mill this past September on a typically beautiful day and was struck by the sheer power on display.  

Ours is an age where we push buttons and hear beeps and hums and things magically happen. An age where we are insulated from the action and often do not have any understanding of how some things happen.  I mean just how do computers work? 

Sturgeon's Mill steam powered equipmentWhile the results of current technology are often stunning, iPhones, GPS etc., the end product here is a piece of wood.  Sturgeon’s Mill allows us to follow the whole fascinating process.  First water is heated to make steam.  Then the steam pushes a piston that causes a thing to turn, the thing turns a wheel that drives a belt that turns another wheel and maybe another belt and another wheel (I am going from memory here) until finally two really giant saw blades are spinning.  Then these amazing people known as Sturgeon’s Mill Volunteers wrestle massive tree trunks into position and shove them at the giant whirling blades using really old tools. 

And voila! A board!

More fun int he woods than you've probably had in a long time - Come out to play with us!

milling lumber at Sturgeon's Mill

Thank you! ror another successful season.

A hearty thank you to all who visited the Mill during one of our steam-ups this past year!! We, the members of the "crew", look forward to these “productive” weekends when we see you, who enjoy steam-powered machinery in operation, come and enjoy the fruits of our labor of the year. We each have our reasons for enjoying this Restoration Project and they all come together when we get together on these great weekends.

The only thing we ask of you is to support this Restoration Project when and however you can and to pass on to your friends the information about this Mill and your enjoyment in observing its operation.

Our Mailing List

Sign-up for the online version of the Sturgeon's Mill Mailing List - it's FREE! You will receive Public Demonstration times & dates, as well as other important details regarding events taking place at Sturgeon's Mill. The sign-up form is located near the bottom-left of the website HOME page.