Shelvin-Hixon and Brooks-Scanlon Mills
This photo was taken between 1916-1919, with the Shevlin-Hixon Lumber Company on the west side of the river (left) and Brooks-Scanlon Lumber Company on the east (right) side.
Brooks-Scanlon’s Mill A, now an office building near the Colorado Bridge, began with a single smokestack and burner (seen in the photograph).
Today the two cylindrical cement footings for Mill A’s burners, and the foundation of Mill A’s powerhouse, can still be seen on the back patio of Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe filled with flowers each summer.
In 1920 Shevlin-Hixon added a third smokestack and burner to their mill and Brooks-Scanlon Mill A added a second smokestack and burner increasing lumber production. The powerhouse building produced the energy to run the mills. The material used to feed the burners was called hog fuel, made of woodchips and shavings.
During the early years the Brooks-Scanlon Mill operated two 8 hour shifts daily, milling a combined average of 300,000 board feet of lumber a day. That’s roughly enough framing for thirty homes (1,800 square feet each).
Logs for the two mills were separated by a log boom dividing the river in half. The boon can be seen to the left of the photo. If you look carefully you can see the trestle bridge in the background. The Shevlin-Hixon railroad trestle bridge was built in 1915. It crossed the Deschutes River just north of where Colorado Ave. is today, you can still see the grassy hill where the trestle came off the bank before crossing the river. The trestle bridge was demolished in 1990.
Note: In 1923 Brooks-Scanlon Lumber Company built a second mill, Mill B. Today the Mill B’s powerhouse is home to REI in the Old Mill District.
Visit the Deschutes Historical Museum located downtown for more information on Bend’s history.