And the answer to Question #3 is:

Nov 7, 2023 | 0 comments


Ed Loomis 1825-1889

Another question asked at last week’s History Forum was: What ever happened to that infamous sawmill — the first in Washington Territory — that Ed Loomis and Wallace Stuart set up?  After a bit of hemming and hawing, several of us had part of the answer but we weren’t very coherent about it.  It was another one of those “I know I should know this” kinds of things and I knew right where to look once I got home.  I’m embarrassed to say that I had written about it, myself, for the Chinook Observer back in 2020.  Well… all I can say is, there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then.

In my series, “Once Upon A Time In Pacific County,” I wrote an article called “Pacific City: Almost But Not Quite Real.”  As part of that article, I wrote a sidebar (I love sidebars!), ” The First Saw Mill.”  All of those bits of information went rattling around in m head and I could almost see the last two paragraphs which would answer the question.  They included information provided by Ed Loomis’s nephew, L. E. Loomis (1877-1955) of Ocean Park which went like this:

When the Federal order came to vacate Pacific City, the Milling Company’s buildings had to be removed, as did all the other structures in Pacific City.  Loomis dismantled the mill, plugged the flues of the boiler, and floated it down Tarlett Creek to Shoalwater Bay.  A start was made for a mill structure near Nahcotta, but the project was abandoned when there came news of a gold strike in northern Idaho in 1855. 

Yesler’s Steam Sawmill in Seattle, 1853 (The 2nd one in Washington Territory)

The Pacific Milling Company’s machinery was used again in the first mill at South Bend, built by the Riddell Brothers in 1868-1869. The bricks that had surrounded the Loomis/Stuart mill were gathered by the residents of Ilwaco and surrounding settlements to be used for various purposes – from fire places and chimneys to garden walkways.  And, for years, the shell of the boiler was on display in Nahcotta at Morehead Park – a true artifact from the first sawmill to operate in Washington at Dr. Elijah White’s “imaginary metropolis.”  Sadly, in recent years, the boiler has disappeared.

Well… at the Forum we had bits and pieces of this entire story but in a bit of confused order.  So, now we have at least part of the boiler’s later provenance in correct sequence.  Perhaps a reader will weigh in with what happened next…






Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *