sawmill site toured
The Ilo-Vollmer Historical Society in Craigmont was pleased recently when Sherry Kammers Trail of Clarkston gave them a copy of an old picture of the sawmill at Westlake. Several members had no idea where it was located, so this necessitated a road trip to Westlake last week.
Fortunately, Don Johnston knew where the sawmill had been, and he pointed it out to those who journeyed to Westlake in the rain. With a little imagination and with rain running down their necks, everyone could imagine a mill pond in the depression that Don pointed out. The hills in the background matched up with the hills in the photograph.
The group then followed Don southwest of Westlake to a place he called the Reservoir Place. Apparently, early in the last century, this area was dammed up and a pipeline was laid to Westlake. Several people opined that it looked like it would have taken a lot of pipe, not to mention the amount of digging that would have had to been done.
Everyone wondered if this project might have been the one mentioned in an article in the May 8, 1906, Lewiston Morning Tribune, which said, “Ford & Co. today received two large loads of freight to replenish their stock. Among the merchandise were a dozen garden hose. Since the new water system has been installed it is expected that all of the residences will have lawns. Crom & Stewart, the proprietors of the waterworks, state that there will be no extra charge for watering lawns this year. The monthly water rental has been placed at $1.50 so that all will have plenty to use at a small cost.”
After leaving Westlake, the group went to where they thought the site of the old town of Rustic was. They still aren't sure they were at the right place, but they think they were in the right county. Rustic was the location of another sawmill, and it had a post office from 1884 till 1895.
The caravan then headed on over to Cottonwood and the Foster Grave, which is nicely maintained by the Cottonwood Lions Club. Mark Tacke gave details of how Foster, a scout, was killed during the War of 1877. Blewett, another scout with Foster, had been killed earlier over by Westlake.
The grand finale of the trip was a stop in Lawyers Canyon, where those with sharp eyes or a pair of binoculars could see a railroad trestle that ended in mid-air. The story is that a couple of train cars derailed as the train crossed the bridge in the late 1960s or early 1970s. Somehow, this caused part of the bridge to fall down. The track was later rebuilt around this trestle. Without an exact date, a newspaper article describing this can’t be found. If anyone has a news article or knows the date, please contact the Ilo-Vollmer Historical Society at Box 61 in Craigmont.