A small lumber mill was originally built here in 1883. The mill workers lived in what used to be known as "Danby Landing." The area became known as "Prescott" around 1907 when Edward L. Prescott built a large saw mill. The Astoria and Columbia Railroad built a train station here to better serve the Beaver Lumber Company operating in conjunction with the mill, which was located in the area now called Prescott Beach.
From the September 28, 1906 "Morning Astorian":
"What will be one of the most modern saw mills on the Columbia river is now being rapidly built at Danby Landing, three miles east of Rainier, by the Beaver Lumber company of which E.L. Prescott of the Prescott Machinery company of Portland, is president, and R.F. Barker, formerly manager of the Diamond Match company at Chico, Cal., and one of the best mill men on the Coast, is general manager. The railroad company is building a switch there and the station will be called Prescott. It is the intention to be under operation in about three months."
From the November 14, 1906 "Oregon Daily Journal":
"About 3 1/3 miles from Rainier, just between Rainier and Goble, a new station has sprung into existence, which promises in a short time to make a nice little town. With the recent advent of a big mill, the Beaver Lumber company, came 40 men as millhands. Many of these have since brought their families and are preparing to settle. The station has already received a name, being called Prescot."
From the February 22, 1907 "Morning Astorian":
"J.E. Quinn of the Beaver Lumber Company of Prescott, Oregon was in Astoria yesterday on business. He reports the big new mill almost completed and will be ready for business about April 1st, or as soon as the new hotel which the company is building is completed. This is one of the most modern and finely equipped plants on the Columbia River and managed by the people it is as we predict for it a splendid record. The plant is located three miles east of Rainer on the A. & C.R. R., which has established a station there. R.F. Barker formerly of the Diamond Watch Co., is the general manager."
From the "Aurora Observer", May 15, 1924:
"On Sunday last Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Miller and son Alvin drove to Prescott, Oregon, to visit their son Geo. W, and wife. George is general time keeper for the Beaver Lumber Company at Prescott. The Beaver Lumber Mills are located on the banks of the Columbia river. The company's business is quite large. They load lumber right off of their own docks on to sailing vessels, mostly for the East, New York and other like points. Large stacks or Lumber piles can be seen all around the plant, giving one to understand that this mill property is quite an asset to Oregon as it gives employment to many working people."
From the "Rainier Review", Christmas Edition, 1925:
"The little town of Prescott, three miles east of Rainier, was built up around the mill of the Beaver Lumber company. [The town] is unincorporated, but has a population of close to 200. There are 85 permanent homes in the town, the majority of which belong to the company.
The spot now called Prescott used to be known as Danby’s Landing. When the mill was built the name was changed to Prescott, probably because the mill uses a large quantity of what is known as Prescott machinery. The population of the town is a changing one, but it does not fluctuate to any considerable extent.
A well equipped two room school in maintained, with an attendance of about 50. Miss Opal Phelps and Miss Laura Strickler are the teachers. Sunday school services are conducted every Friday evening by one of the Rainier churches.
John Rupprath is in charge of the store maintained by the lumber company. He also handles the mail, although George Miller is postmaster officially. The company conducts a hotel, where 110 men are accommodated. Mrs. Dan Marshall and Mrs. Marion Bacon are in charge. Fred Bach conducts the pool hall.
The Beaver Lumber company last year had the third largest cut on the river, being exceeded only by the Inman-Poulson company and the Westport mill. In July of this year the mill was closed and repairs were made that have increased the capacity of the mill. At present, with a day and night shift, the cut averages between seven and eight million feet per month. The cut averaged about 175,000 a shift, with a day and night shift running continuously. This gives rise to a payroll of $40,000 per month, the two shifts giving employment to about 330 men.
The men employed here are rather equally divided between those who either make their homes or board in Prescott, and those who live elsewhere and drive to work there. The mill employs men from the entire territory around Rainier, from Goble, Beaver Homes and even from as far as Mayger, as well as from Rainier. The men drive to work each day and live at home.
In this operation the mill is using approximately 1500 horsepower, which is divided equally between steam and electricity. Recently the Puget Sound Power & Light company installed a special line to the mill direct from the plant at Kalama, Wash., in order to supply the needed power for the machines. Formerly this load was taken from the line that supplied Rainier.
The Beaver Lumber company cuts its own timber, which is logged and hauled in from the camp in the Nehalem Valley to Scappoose, from where the logs are rafted to the mill. In the Nehalem Valley a six side logging camp is maintained, and a logging road has been constructed that is the only road on this side of Linnton that enters the valley on the other side of the divide. This is done by means of a big tunnel back of Scappoose. This road also is a common carrier for a portion of its length.
With their own timber holdings and through their various connections, the Beaver Lumber company has timber enough for an indefinite run."
Thank you to The Columbia County Historian, Lyn Topinka, University of Oregon Libraries Eugene, OR and others who have researched and preserved the history of Prescott, Oregon. Thank you for allowing us to link to your sites.
Lewis and Clark spent the night of November 5, 1805, near today's Prescott Beach, Oregon. In Clark's notes in his first draft he places the camp three miles below the mouth of the Kalama River. On March 27, 1806, on their return upriver, Lewis and Clark pass by Prescott Beach and camp just upstream near today's community of Goble.
Mrs. Minnie Fowler McCrae, daughter of Frances Fowler, who took 640 acres of land where Prescott now is located is authority for the early history of this area as follows:
Frances Fowler and his wife, Mary, came west by covered wagon in 1865 and took up government land. After filing on it and settling here with his family, the land became theirs in 1868 as a Donation Land Claim. They built their house on the southern end of the island. It later became filled in between the island the mainland on the Oregon side of the Columbia, so is no longer an island.
In 1883 a small lumber mill was built where the Graham dock is now, and houses were built for the mill workers. The village was named Danby. After several years the mill was discontinued, and the houses were empty, when Robert Graham and his family came here in 1900. At that time Balfour and Guthrie of Portland were the owners, having obtained it by foreclosure of a mortgage they held on the property. The Grahams bought it in 1901, 131 acres in all. Several of the old houses were moved together to make the first home of the Graham family, and others of the buildings were used by other families. Among these were the Ward, Furer and Ruby families.
The railroad was complete to Astoria in 1898, and then it was easier for the settlers here to visit other towns along the river. There was no station here for some time and they had to go to Rainier to board the train.
In 1906 the Beaver Lumber Co. bought a site north of the Graham property, and began operations in 1907, and Danby was re-named Prescott.
History and Genealogy, Columbia County Oregon
Prescott post office was in operation from May 21, 1907, to May 15, 1946. Anna Barker was the first postmaster.
Fine new mill at Prescott - which will cut one hundred thousand feet per day - will begin operation April 1st.