History Hero: Bob Sturgeon

Bob has history and logging in his DNA so no one is surprised he helped save a gem in the redwoods of Northern California. His grandfather build Sturgeon’s mill in 1914 in western Sonoma County near Sebastopol. The logs were pulled down and milled to help rebuilt San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. But running on steam — using old technology, it closed in the 1960’s. Then Bob and Harvey Henningsen (who’s fathers owned and operated Sturgeon’s Mill until it closed) and a small group of history buffs and old mill workers had an outrageous idea — to find a new boiler,  and get the mill up and running again.

So four times a year the steam flys and Sturgeon’s Mill is Alive Again,  to the delight of school kids and thousands of others who want to see old style milling up close. This is living history with all the noise, steam and vibrations. And here’s a tip: on cold mornings, watch for the tall towers of steam that rise up above the old mill — as it drifts into the redwood trees surrounding the quiet valley. Did we say quiet?…well wait until Bob fires off the work whistle — after that, things get loud and busy — and you are headed back to the 1920’s.

Meet Bob and the others in one of our very first and most popular programs: Sturgeon’s Mill: Alive Again.



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“History Heroes” are profiles of people young and old we meet along the way sharing their love of the past.

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