The Edwards Agency

Local News

Henry Washkuhn's mill saved from the elements


Heavy machinery donated by the community was used to remove a collapsed building and salvage the M & W Mill machinery.
Photo courtesy of Carter Hawley.

mill salvaged by Jeff Switzer
WOODINVILLE--The city, the Woodinville Historical Society and several community businesses donated time, equipment, and food Nov. 2 to salvage what is possibly the last working mill in a once-active timber area.
   The M & W Mill was owned by Henry Washkuhn's daughters, who sold it to the Woodinville Historical Society about a year ago. The society, in turn, began a search for a final resting place for the mill's operating planer and large saw blade.
   The mill equipment was housed in two dilapidated buildings on 176th Avenue NE. One of the buildings had collapsed and was prone to vandalism, so the effort to preserve its contents was taken to the public.
   "People went home with aching bones and muscles that they didn't even know they had!" said Phyllis Keller, vice-president of the Historical Society and volunteer. "We decided we really needed to get the building off the planer."
   The city took the lead on the project, with Dean McKee from building and planning and assistant to the City manager Carter Hawley pitching in Friday, Saturday, and half of Sunday.
   Keller said neither of the buildings was salvageable, so with the help of a backhoe, flatbed and dump truck donated by A & P Construction, the crew used heavy equipment and chainsaws to tear apart the rotten timbers of the collapsed building and loaded the debris into two dumpsters donated by Waste Management. Contributing to the effort, Wood'ys Restaurant donated lunch for the 15-member crew.
   For now, the mill equipment is being stored on private property within the city limits and out of the weather, and is currently unavailable for viewing.
   "The long-range plan is to get it up and going, but in the meantime, we have to find a place to keep it permanently," said Keller. "Land is so dear in this community."
   An architect donated his time to do the drawings of the mill before it was torn apart "so we know how to put it back together," Keller added.
   Because things from the original mill have turned up missing, the location is being kept private for the safety of the homeowner. "It's the only one being preserved in King County at this time, possibly in the state," Keller said.
   The mill was last used about five years ago. Washkuhn operated the one-man mill since the late 1940s, cutting lumber brought from area residents for use in homes they were building.
   Keller says most of the other mills in the area are gone now. "We were just fortunate to get this one before the girls sold it for salvage."