Make the McKenzie Connection!

The Three Sisters Meadow was once the site of two mills

Last Saturday people had a chance to add to their local knowledge storehouse thanks to a review of some of the background for a property they might often pass by. As Cliff Richardson explained two mills once occupied the site that is now the home to the McKenzie Community Track and Field complex and the Three Sisters Meadows parcel.

Back before the 1960s, when Highway 126 was reconstructed to run through the site, it had extended to the river and was home to a sawmill started by the Armstrong Lumber Company and a green veneer plant set up by Forest Soloman. Although some people may have been concerned industrial operations are too often tied to pollution, Richardson said that wasn’t the case here because as a “green veneer” plant, the facility wasn’t involved in laying up and gluing plywood sheets together. Instead, the trimmed veneer was shipped off to different plywood plants for that final step in the process.

And, after the mills shut down there’s a story that the site’s future was decided by a coin toss.

As the tale goes. there was interest within the timber industry to help keep the site as an industrially-zone parcel. With that in mind, the owners of Seneca Sawmill and Rosboro Lumber decided to toss a coin to see who would shepherd the property. As the loser, Seneca took on that role.

Other changes occurred about 42 years ago, involving a U.S. Forest Service road project that generated a lot of fill material. That dirt was hauled to the site and used to fill in close to 3/4 of the old mill pond. That area, on the west end of the property, is now the site of the Aaron and Marie Jones Community Track venue, donated by the Jones family in the 1990s.

In 2021, the remaining 16-acre parcel was generously donated to the Blue River Community by Becky, Jody, and Kathy Jones, owners of The Seneca Family of Companies. They are not only the daughters of Aaron and Marie Jones but are also the namesake for the “Three Sisters Meadow.”


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