Eagle Point: the town where you may yet find horses hitched alongside hybrid vehicles. With a growing population of over 9,000 residents, but miles of fields and farmland, Eagle Point is a scenic retreat from the bigger city pace. In the past few years, Eagle Point has been nationally recognized for its golf course resort and its bike-thief-lassoing-cowboy, but some Southern Oregon residents may not know about the city’s other hidden gems. For instance, how many know about the history of Antelope Creek Bridge and the Butte Creek Mill? Then there’s the city’s new water spray park, as well as the high school’s new tech lab. Throughout the summer, Eagle Point has numerous community events so if you’re interested in exploring this city more in-depth, there are plenty of reasons to pay Eagle Point a visit.
According to the Butte Creek Mill Foundation, Snowy Butte Mill, now known as the Butte Creek Mill, was the “last water-powered grist mill, still commercially operating, this side of the Mississippi.” With grinding stones quarried from France, the Butte Creek Mill was an “iconic structure”—not only a flour mill, but a center for community gatherings—the “heartbeat of the community,” according to Bob Russell, the mill’s former owner. The Butte Creek Mill burned down in a terrible fire on Christmas, 2015, but that’s not where its story ends. The 1872 mill, fondly called the ‘capital of Eagle Point,’ is being rebuilt with the help of generous donations and grants. While the finish-date is based on potential funding, the Butte Creek Mill Foundation hopes to be completed with the mill’s rebuilding in the next few years. “The community needs the mill,” Russell added. “It’ll build positive business opportunities when finished.” He went on to talk about the potential for other companies alongside the creek—and the historic mill, “a center of education.”
If you head down the road, and visit the Eagle Point Museum, you will most certainly be impressed. History covers the interior of the building from floor to ceiling. Not only do the museum displays present information on Eagle Point’s backstory, but also on world history throughout the past two centuries. Prepare to chat with the museum hosts and learn more facts than you can possibly remember.
Bridge 202, better known as Antelope Creek Bridge, fits into the history of Eagle Point as well. When the 58-foot structure was built in 1922, it was the Yankee Creek Covered Bridge, until the county obtained it and in 1986, moved the bridge to the current location for the purpose of providing “safe passage for school children and the general public.” With the school directly across from the bridge, the new location is certainly convenient.
Speaking of school, if you’ve got a teenager at home, you may want to pay Eagle Point High School’s new tech lab a visit. Sponsored by Apple, this huge technological center is one of Eagle Point’s well-kept secrets. In addition, another little-known fact is that Eagle Point has a sister-city in Showa Mura, Japan. Every (normal) year, (2020 not included), students in Eagle Point’s school district have the opportunity to travel to Japan and participate in a direct exchange with Japanese high schoolers. Who knew, right?
With the building of the Eagle Point Spray Park across the street from the library, summers in Eagle Point just got a little cooler. Kids of all ages (and some adults too), will enjoy running through the water fountains as the temperature increases. In addition, the Music in the Street event in June brings life to summer evenings, as the city closes off Main Street for vendors, dancing, and live bands.
“Welcome to the Neighborhood,” is the city of Eagle Point’s new motto. And a fitting phrase it is. Next time you’re passing through Eagle Point, stop and wander around a little. You’ll most certainly be welcomed by old-fashioned hometown friendliness.
Butte Creek Mill Foundation (2019). About the Mill. Website: https://buttecreekmill.com/pages/about-the-mill
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