Dybdall Gristmill

Note: This building is located on Private property.

This antiquated building is the Dybdall Gristmill. Named after its owner and architect, O.C. Dybdall. The Norwegian immigrant built the mill in 1897 after buying the property from the previous owners, Fred Wagner and Henry Hinkney. The mill was operated by Dybdall and his family throughout the early decades of the twentieth century before finally closing down in 1955. The mill provided high quality flour to the Spokane area and, though severely antiquated, still stands as a relic to the history of Pacific Northwest agriculture.

After buying the property from the previous owners who had built a sawmill on it, Ole C. Dybdall built the grist mill while continuing to operate the sawmill as well. The architecture of the grist mill is basic in its construction. It is a three story building with a square frame, 30 feet on each side, with a saltbox roof. The site of the mill still houses the equipment which was used to process the flour. It is a complex layout that suggests a multi-stage operation that required some technical skill to service. Some of the parts you may find left behind include a grain scourer, rolling grinders, and other modifications which enabled the mill to run quickly and efficiently. In 1925, an auxiliary gas engine was added to the mill, replacing the previous power supply, a water driven turbine.

The grist mill Is is located on Rock Creek near the south end of Chapman Lake, a sparsley populated area when Dybdall first settled there. Dybdall operated the grist mill with his wife Annie and son, Ole C. Dybdall, Jr., until his death in 1919 at the age of 60. When in service, the mill provided finely ground flour to the Spokane and Cheney area, producing up to 30 barrels a day in the 1920's and 1930's. Despite its small size in comparison to larger industrial mills at the time, the Dybdall mill was well known for the exceptional quality of its flour. Large increases in grain production caused the larger mills to take precedent to the smaller Dybdall mill. However, the eight stage grinding process of the Dybdall mill allowed it to thrive as custom order grist mill, producing higher quality flour than that of the bigger mills which used a six stage process.

The grist mill closed down in 1955 after a long and productive life. The mill is significant in the context of the history of Pacific Northwest agriculture. It is one of the few remaining grist mills found anywhere in Washington state, most having been dismantled or destroyed by the elements.

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