By Ruth A. Ringelstetter
On our first trip to Ohio in 2009, Joann and I crisscrossed the southern part of the state hunting up Mail Pouch Tobacco barns and detouring now and then for other interesting things, including old general stores, covered bridges, and abandoned houses and farms.
One of the other things on my list that I wanted to visit was the H. C. Ogle Planing Mill near the town of Crooked Tree. A planing mill is a mill that takes cut and seasoned boards from a sawmill and finishes them for construction.
My directions for the mill said that it was less than a mile southwest of the town of Crooked Tree. We turned onto Crooked Tree Road from a highway east of Crooked Tree and expected to drive through the town of Crooked Tree before finding the mill. However, we came across the mill before reaching Crooked Tree.
The mill was a series of weathered buildings stretched out along the road. Most of the buildings had no windows, but the main building had multiple windows on both floors. The trim was painted white, which stood out in contrast to the weathered wood.
The mill was owned and operated by Harley C. Ogle who was a native of Crooked Tree. He was born January 21, 1891 and died November 23, 1982. He constructed his mill in the early 1900’s. The mill was powered by steam. Above the entrance door of the main building, "H. C. Ogle," is carved in wood.
Recently, I read that the mill was completely gone. We hope to visit the location of the mill on our next visit to Ohio and see for ourselves if the mill is truly gone. If it is, we will be saddened by its passing, but will be thankful that we found it in time to photograph it on our first visit.
Sometimes, due to inaccurate location information, rural architecture is reported to be gone. In this case, we have our fingers crossed that, because the directions were wrong, the person reporting its demise looked for it in the wrong place.
We’ll keep our hopes up until we know for sure.