Interior shots of businesses and industries in the early
1900s are really rare, so we were thrilled to receive
this photo of the inside of the Rogers Milling Company.
The donor does not know the names of the men in the
photo, and is hoping someone who had an ancestor who
worked at the company might recognize someone. If you
see a familiar face, please let us know.
This was a thriving business during its heyday.
Established in 1886, the mill created a lucrative market
for local grain crops and established Rogers as a center
for flour and meal production. J.W. Frey, the local
Frisco railroad agent, was the chief promoter of the
business and early stock holders included notable
business leaders J.A.C. Blackburn, W.R. Felker, H.L.
Stroud, and J.B. Steele.
The company had three large buildings located on the
corner of North Arkansas Street and East Chestnut Street
and included access to a railroad spur. The largest
building was approximately 33 feet wide and 100 feet
long, which included a grain elevator for moving and
storing grain. Processing equipment included eight sets
of rollers, three packers, three purifiers, one
separator, three dust collectors, one centrifuge, one
corn bolter, two scourers, and sixteen reels. By 1900
the plant boasted an output of 75 to 150 barrels of
flour daily (a barrel of flour weighs 196 pounds), with
shipment of their “Rogers Special Patent” brand flour
throughout the country.
By 1908 the mill employed twelve people and increased
production to 200 barrels of flour daily. During these
early years, farmers from across the county and Indian
Territory sold wheat and corn at the mill. At harvest
time, 30 to 40 wagons could be seen lined up to sell
grain at the elevator. But as agriculture began to shift
to fruit production and land replanted as orchards, a
special rate from the railroad allowed the mill to
continue large-scale operation by milling Kansas wheat
and then shipping it on to markets.
A fire destroyed the mill on April 30, 1914 and the loss
was valued at $35,000. In 1916 a Pea Ridge miller, Mr.
Rogers, and his business associate from Leslie,
Arkansas, Mr. Fuller, built a larger mill on the site.
The Rogers & Fuller Mill continued in business for many
more years and expanded to include the sale of heating
oil. In addition to continuing to produce 200 barrels of
wheat daily, the new mill often sold 1,500 gallons of
oil each day throughout the area. By 1953 the mill moved
to Highway 62 on North Second Street and Rogers Transfer
and Storage occupied the long-time mill buildings until
closing their doors in 2010.