Fred Hutchinson James Delmage Ross Dixy Lee Ray George W. Bush Hazel Wolf Henry M Jackson Warren G. Magnuson Home
Search Encyclopedia
Advanced Search
Featured Essay
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
7099 essays now available      
Donation system not supported by Safari     Donate Subscribe


Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search


Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Timeline Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Thorp Mill begins operation in the Kittitas Valley in April 1883. Essay 5073 : Printer-Friendly Format

Thorp Mill begins operation in the Kittitas Valley in April 1883. This four-story gristmill, built by Oren Hutchinson, provides farmers throughout the valley both the convenience of local processing for their wheat and an important hub for community activities.

Thorp Mill, located west of Ellensburg in the tiny town of Thorp, utilized Yakima River water brought to the area via canal. A horizontal water wheel powered both the gristmill and a nearby sawmill. An ice pond and log pond were located nearby. The ice pond was used for recreational skating, and from it ice was harvested to chill the train cars that carried local fresh produce to market.

Kittitas Valley farmers brought their wheat crops to the Thorp Mill in wagons, and the grain was ground into flour, bran, or feed for livestock. Initially the grain was processed between huge stone burrs that had been brought laboriously via wagon from The Dalles. In 1895 the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railroad enabled importation and installation of more efficient steel roller burrs.  The railroad also provided local farmers with an easy means to sell their flour throughout the Puget Sound region.

In 1906, the energy from the water wheel was utilized to power a steam generator, which furnished electricity for laundering clothing two mornings each week, and for lighting homes for a few hours each evening. Thorp was one of the first towns in Washington to get electricity.

Thorp Mill continued active operation through 1946. On November 23, 1977, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Gary L. Jackson, Remembering Yakima: By Those Who Were There (Yakima: Golden West Publishing Company, 1975), 10; Ruth Kirk and Carmela Alexander, Exploring Washington's Past: A Road Guide To History Revised Edition (Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1995), 127; George and Jan Roberts, Discovering Historic Washington State (Baldwin Park, CA: Gem Guides Book Company, 1999), 142; National Register of Historic Places website (; Kittitas County and the Thorp Mill website (http:/

Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Related Topics: Agriculture | Landmarks | Firsts |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You

Thorp Mill, Thorp, Kittitas Valley, 2005
Photo by Paula Becker

Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM) is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email