If you worked here in 1913,
you would work at the Fortson (saw)Mill and more than likely live along the NF Stillagumish River in a small town called Fortson, Washington. You could expect to work an average of 12-hour days and make $3.50/day. You may live in a bunkhouse, or maybe a house. You would shop at the company store, frequent one of the three saloons**, and use the community's own phone service and post office. You would have about 300 neighbors, most of whom depended on the Fortson Mill for their pay. In 1913, Fortson Mill (founded as McCaughtery Mill Co. in 1905) was the major employer in an area along the NF Stillagumish River in Washington State.
Times changed, the company's needs shifted, and the mill was sold in 1956. Most of the buildings were dismantled and moved to its new operation site near Darrington.
Today, what is left of the mill has a very interesting look. The concrete walls look at home in the trees and are host to moss, lichen, and ferns. The floors are now a bed of leaves. Well-defined doorways and windows, nooks and cranies, lend the imagination clear visuals into the past.
If you like to hike, the mill is also one of the entry points to Whitehorse Trail. Though Whitehouse goes the distance, there is an easy 2.0 round-trip trail around the mill area. Mountain reflections in the ponds are a draw along with kingfishers, herons, eagles, and a salmon hatchery along the trails. All in all, a very pleasant way to spend some time with some ghosts of the past.
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**One of the three saloons was converted into a Sunday school in the later years. 😇