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Grand opening for historic sawmill at Philip Foster Farms posted on 05/01/2022

The smell of fresh sawdust will greet history buffs, pioneers-in-training and other guests at the grand opening of a historic Pacific Northwest sawmill at the Philip Foster Farm National Historic Site on the Barlow Road. The event will be held at the historic farm located at 22725 SE Eagle Creek Road in Eagle Creek from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 14.

“Our goal is to make history hands on. Being able to add this sawmill is very cool,” said Elaine Butler, Educational Director for the historic site.

Although Foster Farm offers a hands-on educational experience of life in the region during the pioneer days, guests are reminded to watch their fingers around the saw. The sawmill was donated to the historic site by the Heiple family, residents of Eagle Creek. The farm received a grant from Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory, a branch of Clackamas County Tourism and Cultural Affairs, to restore the sawmill.

Philip Foster came to Oregon in 1843 and established a sawmill in Oregon City. Foster was originally from Maine, where he had a thriving lumber business and store. He moved to Eagle Creek in 1847 to supply provisions for settlers on the Oregon Trail and opened a second sawmill. These sawmills were crucial for the development of the communities of the region.

The model recently acquired by the farm is a later model from the early 20th century. Foster shipped his original sawmill from Hawaii in the mid-19th century.

The grand opening will have a 2 p.m. dedication of the exhibit and ribbon cutting attended by Clackamas County commissioners. Food and beverages will be available. Admission is $5 for individuals or $20 for a family. No reservations are required. Admission is free to Jackknife-Zion-Horseheaven Historical Society members and Clackamas County Historic Pass holders.

Foster Farm is a reproduction of the site Philip Foster originally settled in Eagle Creek. The facility has been open since 1993 and offers school tours and summer camps for kids to experience life in region during the mid-19th century.

Although the sawmill has been installed at its new home, the historic site is still in the process of returning it to working order.

“If there are any volunteers interested in being involved with the restoration of the sawmill please contact the farm,” Butler said.

More information is available online at https://philipfosterfarm.com/farm-events/sawmill-grand-opening-may-14-2022/.

By Ben Simpson/MT

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