Milling around Seattle, ca. 1875
The 1879 directory notes the Starr Mills "Extra Family Flour," and describes the mill as also offering "constantly for sale, and at liberal rates, feed, cracked wheat, corn meal bran, shorts middlings and chicken feed."
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IN 1875, OR perhaps late 1874, Isaac and James Buzby opened the Starr Mills at the waterfront foot of Seneca Street.
The city's 1876 directory compliments the mill for supplying a "need long felt." Here we think we see five employees posing for a typical business portrait. Two are in the mill's two stories of doorways, and one is riding the wagon and holding the team.
The 1879 directory notes the Starr Mills "Extra Family Flour," and describes the mill as also offering "constantly for sale, and at liberal rates, feed, cracked wheat, corn meal bran, shorts middlings and chicken feed." We learn from The Seattle Times' reporter on the "heritage beat," C.T. Conover, that "after a few years" of trying, the Buzbys (spelled Busby in later accounts of the family) dropped their Extra Family Flour and kept to milling "only feed for stock as Puget Sound wheat was too soft for successful flour making."
This subject was grouped with several other historical Seattle scenes in a March 11, 1934, Seattle Times feature titled "Way Back — When Seattle Was But Youngster." The caption identified C.M. McComb as both the man riding the wagon and The Times reader who loaned the paper the original photograph for inclusion in its "Way Back." series. Along with all else on the waterfront south of University Street, the mill was consumed by the city's Great Fire of June 6, 1889.
Jean Sherrard used the occasion of his contemporary "repeat" to explore Seattle history with his fifth- and sixth-graders from Hillside School. They walked the footprint of the old mill and imagined the waters of Elliott Bay lapping at their feet, then posed for the "Now" photo in the shadow of the viaduct's exit ramp at Seneca.
Check out Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard's blog at www.pauldorpat.com.