Friday, July 3, 2009

Grist for the Mill

- Per Usual, left-click on any picture for a larger version -
Links are shown in blue
In June we found a weekend that Matt and Rachael, as well as we two, were free, so we hopped on a United Flight from Denver. We took the light rail from the airport to downtown and walked 3 blocks to our hotel. In September, should one desire, you will be able to take the new light rail extension right to the hotel (Marriott Courtyard Downtown) which sits between downtown and the Pearl. Above we stand in the West Hills with "Big Pink" (Link) in the center of downtown Portland.
Sitting high in the West Hills is the Pittock Mansion, built by one of Portland's early entrepreneurs, Henry Pittock. Henry was born in England and came to the US as a child. He arrived in Portland penniless and began work for the Oregonian Newspaper. He later met his wife, Gerogiania, who had crossed the plains from Keokuk, Iowa. Henry aggressively entered the business world and rapidly became wealthy. They lived in relatively modest dwellings until, late in life, they built this spectacular home on 56 hilltop acres in the West Hills of Portland.
The main stairs

View of Portland from the Master Bedroom Porch. The grounds are part lawn, part rose garden, and part arboretum.
Earlier we had driven over the bridges to Washington State:

In the hills About 30' North of Portland is the Cedar Creek Grist Mill. Built in 1876 to serve primarily for flour making, it was subsequently a hydroturbine-powered machine shop supporting the logging industry and local farming. It has been restored and is maintained by a voluntary organization.

The building was initially constructed primarily to turn this two piece French grinding stone, quarried at La Ferte-sous-Jouarre near the town of Chalons in the Marne Valley in Northern France.

This brief video contains the sounds and shows some of the machinery of the mill in action. The power is produced by a James Leffel water turbine. This company has been making turbines since 1862. The speed/horsepower is varied by opening/closing the vanes of the turbine.
The turbine turns on a bearing made of Lignum Vitae wood (more than you ever wanted to know about this wood here.)

The original covered bridge at the mill site has been rebuilt.

The flume was originally only about 80' long, using a log dam to build the water pressure. The dam was taken out sometime back, and now the salmon run upstream yearly. A new flume was built as part of the restoration, beginning about 650 feet upstream from the mill. This allows a 17.5 foot head of water to stand above the turbine, which at peak power flows 600 cubic ft/min.

Inveterate historical travel is in the genes.

(By the way, The proverb “all is grist for the mill” means “everything can be made useful, or be a source of profit.” A miller ground whatever grain was brought to him, and charged a portion of the final product for the service. Therefore, all grain arriving at the mill represented income, regardless of its quality. The first recorded usage of the phrase was in the sixteenth century, but the term is probably much older.)
There are some minor variations, such as "all's grist that comes to my/his/her mill", meaning that the person in question can make something positive out of anything that comes along.