Mission Mill–Salem, Oregon

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On Monday, we visited Mission Mill Museum, in Salem, Oregon.  I had never been there before, and had a wonderful time.  Once we paid the admission cost, we were shown a short movie giving some history of the buildings that were on the grounds.

This was a woolen mill that was open and made wool cloth for many years, but closed in the 1960’s.  As we toured the facility, we saw the machines, and most of them still worked.  It was very interesting to see the mill race as well.  Apparently, back in the day, the mill owners built a “ditch” that brought water for miles (yes miles!) to make the stream large enough to make electricity and power the mill.  It is still generating power, and they sell it back to PGE, the local power company.  Amazing!

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There were also 4 other buildings that had been moved to this site from a near-by mission, and the story of the mission was documented in the houses.  It was very interesting to read about the early settlers of Oregon, who came to preach and teach, and actually ended up contributing greatly to the formation of early Oregon in many ways.  They had some interactive exhibits that the kids enjoyed playing with in one of the houses.

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My nephew, Jake, and daughter, Patsy, enjoyed playing with a crimping iron, and some toy food. They also learned about early schoolrooms, and other things.

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My niece, Alissa, and daughter, Ja’Ana, enjoyed the tour of the mill, and were in a goofy mood part of the time, as teenagers often are.  It’s nice to see them having fun together.

My aunt and I enjoyed taking the 4 kids around and the beautiful break in the weather that we got–lovely sunshine between the rain showers that obviously had just visited before we did.  The kids browsed through the gift shops on their way out, and we ate a picnic in the parking lot before we went home.  It was really fun and informative.

It’s so funny what kids remember.  When asked what he learned, Jake didn’t mention the food, cooking with play food, or building with the blocks.  Instead, he remembered an obscure fact that the museum guide told us about as he showed us a large map of Salem, Oregon, long ago.  Salem is the capitol of the state of Oregon.  He informed us of where the capitol was long ago, and that it had burned down a time of too, in the past.  So, that’s what Jake remembered.  There had been a fire.  So, when asked, he informed everyone that he had been to a place that burned down.  Silly kid.  But, we sure had fun!  It was a great morning, and a good way to keep them busy on a day with no school.

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