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Duncans 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.

 

There's 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.

 

S. 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. Duncan.

 

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 mill.