Mills was once the end of the rail line and is now a collection of colorful 19th
century-style storefronts housing a general store, galleries, gifts, and restaurants.
The charming town of
Duncans Mills is a quaint village you pass through on Highway 116 that winds
through redwood forests between Santa Rosa and Sonoma Coast's Jenner.
Situated on the south bank of Russian river, one and one-half miles
from the sea, you pass along scenic, winding roads and a sign that dates the
town to 1877. A train car parked on a lot must signify the city roots and
importance of trains at one time to transport lumber, and people, in this
near-coast forested area.
a mill that was built in 1860 by S. M. & A. Duncan; it has been in
successful operation for the past sixteen years; during that time a thriving
village has grown up around it. In the town there is a hotel, a post and express
office, store, and telegraph office, and a population of about one hundred.
M. Duncan and his former partner, Hendy, were members of the first company
organized to cut timber in Sonoma county. The company was formed of mechanics at
work on the Benicia barracks, in 1849. Charles McDermott was president, and John
Bailiff, secretary. The price of timber was then three hundred dollars a
thousand. The company organized under the name of the Blumedale Lumber Company,
in honor of F. G. Blume, on whose land, near the present town of Freestone, they
built a mill.
The price of lumber tumbled by the time the company got at work,
and it soon after went into liquidation. Its effects were purchased, and it was
revised under the firm name of Hendy & Duncan. General George Stoneman was a
partner in the firm. They did not make it go, and the machinery was taken to the
mines, where it was run awhile, and was brought back to the county in 1852 by
Hendy & Duncan, who built at Salt Point the first steam saw-mill on the coast.
From Salt Point the mill was removed to Russian river by S. M. & A. Duncan, and
took the name of Duncan's mill. The boiler purchased by the Blumedale Company in
1849 is still used by A. Duncan, the successor of Hendy & Duncan, and S. M. & A.
At this time, 1877, a joint
stock company, known as the Duncan's Mill Land and Lumber Company, has been
inaugurated, and the mill was moved to its present location, on the north side
of Russian river, at a point where the North Pacific Railroad crosses the river,
the present terminus of the road. It will retain its original name of Duncan's