Prineville Planing Mill Provided Finished Lumber for Many Early Homes

Lumber mills were among the first industrial operations in Central Oregon. Mostly rough cut lumber was produced at small mills for construction purposes. As early as 1878 attempts were made to establish a planing mill in Prineville and included construction of a water ditch to power a planing ill. The mill was located on Third and Claypool and had a series of owners until 1898.

Ed Harbin partnered with John B. Shipp in the operation and sold out to Shipp in 1898. By 1900 the planning mill was one of the most prominent manufacturing industries of Crook County. The plant produced most of the planed lumber for buildings in Prineville for a few years. The mill had a capacity of 15,000 feet of finished lumber and 10,000 sawed shingles per day. The best sawed shingles retailed at $3.00 per thousand at the mill, and finished lumber sold for $15.00 to $25.00 per thousand. The mill produced moldings, sash and wood turning for most ordinary building construction.

In 1905 Shipp partnered with Gardner Perry and built a new planing mill at 4th and Fairview near the present Prineville Swimming Pool. The new plant was steam operated and a 50 horse-power engine was installed. Shipp & Perry added a dry kiln to their operation in 1910. Lumber was off loaded at the kiln and processed through the heated kiln where it was dried before going to the planing mill. The mill had a work force of ten men.

Shipp & Perry operated the mill until 1919 when they sold it to Tum-A-Lum Lumber Company. Shipp was retained as a manager of the operation for a few years and the operation expanded. Eventually the mill was moved but it was the pioneer planing operation in Central Oregon.