Imagine, for a moment, that you have a cooperative elephant and a magnifying glass. The great animal stands patiently, allowing you to crawl over it with that instrument, examining the uncountable creases and folds on its tough hide. Far-fetched, of course, but turning that same glass towards history will leave you equally amazed. And unlike the elephant, this beast becomes larger by the minute.
This past Wednesday I happened onto one of its interesting detours when I stopped at Thompson’s Mills State Heritage Site. Once the oldest continuously operating water-powered mill in the state, it sits a mile east of Shedd, Oregon, on Boston Mill Drive, so named for—Boston, Oregon. Not so famous as that other version, it relocated to the nearby town of Shedd’s Station when the Oregon & Pacific Railroad refused to build through—all the buildings were moved except the mill.
As it turned out I had picked a fine day for meandering, with sunshine scattered by cool breezes, a perfect temperature (for me) near 70 degrees, and puffy can’t-wait-to-be-polarized clouds (a rarity this summer) drifting by. The mill was all mine for a while as I walked about the grounds looking for photos. The daylight was harsh but a quiet rural atmosphere owned the day, and it was easy to imagine the landscape in earlier times.
I was eventually joined by a sleek fleet of vintage Austin-Healeys out for a mid-week rally, tops-down and chrome smiling in the bright sunshine, and I couldn’t ignore history as it again tugged gently on my sleeve.