Cheney's first flour mill opened in 1882, run by James and George Cumin. It was known as Cheney Flouring Mill, Cheney Roller Mill, and Cumin Bros. Mill. The mill operated until 1900 when the Cumin brothers moved their business to Paha. Cheney was without a mill until Frank M. Martin opened his east of the railroad depot in 1907.
The Cheney flouring
mill was under construction through the summer of 1881. The Northwest Tribune
newspaper optimistically predicted it would be completed by the time the year's
crop was harvested.
The mill was a
four-story building, 36 by 48 feet with an attached 22 by 28 foot boiler and
engine house. The grinding wheel was run by steam power using wood to run the
In 1884, G.E. Cole
took over as proprietor, but the following year, the paper reported that
“George E. Cole has given up the Cheney Flouring Mills. It is rumored that the
business will soon change hands.”
Back in the hands of
the Cumin brothers, the mill was running at full speed and was crowded with
orders by 1887 producing Silver Leaf flour. “Cheney Roller Mills. Cummin Bros.
& Co. Prop. Flour, bran, shorts, graham, etc. Our Silver Leaf flour, the pride
of WA” was an advertisement in 1890. In 1894 the mill was producing up to 80
barrels of flour a day.
In 1900, the Cumin brothers moved their operation to Paha, leaving Cheney without a flour mill,
though there were flour mills at Marshall, Plaza, and Chapman Lake. On April 7, 1905, fire destroyed the old mill and warehouse owned by Dr. Francis A. Pomeroy. The mill was between the Northern Pacific
Railroad depot and the saloons and Creamery on the Cheney Spangle Road.