Later Photographs

Rhodes Mill: History - Old Sketches - Old Photos - Later Photos - Family Tree

At least twice during his lifetime, Joseph Elmer Rhodes Sr., the father of the Elmer Rhodes whose essays we have made available on line, visited the site of the old mill. The first visit in 1916 found the mill in ruins but it and many other buildings still standing; but by the second visit in 1939, forest had reclaimed all remains of the settlement men had carved into it.

The Summer of 1916

Descendants of Newton Marion Rhodes visited Shell in the summer of 1916, fifteen years after his death, to tour the remains of the old family business. The group included Newton's grandson Joseph Elmer Rhodes Sr., who was around 26 years old at the time.


The Mill in Ruins. Joseph Elmer Rhodes, Sr. shows his family the ruins of the mill operated by his grandfather. He is standing on the same dock that is visible in the photograph of the mill in 1897 (see above). Note the smokestack, which was added when the mill converted to steam power late in its career.


Ruins and Mill Pond. Here we see the mill ruins as viewed from downstream. Note the missing board below the window, which was knocked off when Joseph Elmer Rhodes Sr. was present, as recounted in the Sawmilling essay.


House Ruins. These are the remains of one of the homes in which some of the family lived during the mill's heyday. Hard to distinguish in the background are three other structures, which are (from the left) the garage for the surrey, a house for Bob the chauffeur, and a garage for Dave's buggy.


Persimmon Creek. This sluggish creek served as highway for both arriving logs and departing lumber, as well as providing power for the mill before the late conversion to steam.


The Commissary. The old mill town's commissary still survived in 1916 as a country store. It was located across the street from the ruins of the mill.

Family Visits the Site, Circa 1940

Around the year 1940 the next generation of the family returned to Shell; Joseph Elmer Rhodes Sr. now had children with whom to share the family's history. They toured the area where the Rhodes Mill had operated, though the ruins had by now disappeared.


Gin Bridge. This shows one of the bridges that cross Persimmon Creek, probably the bridge near the site of the gin mill that had for a time continued to operate after the mill's demise.


The Mill Site. Joseph Elmer Rhodes Sr., his wife Gertrude, and daughter Jane visit the site of the mill; the picture was probably taken looking towards the north.


The Home Site. Joseph Elmer Rhodes Sr. indicates for his family where his grandfather's home was situated, in what was now a growing pine forest.

The School House. The tree in front of this school house was planted by Joseph Elmer Rhodes Sr. on Arbor day in 1900, and over forty years has grown to considerable height. The school house is visible in the lower-left corner of the photograph.


Two Generations. Joseph Elmer Rhodes Sr. sits with his only son against the bole of the tree he had planted four decades earlier. The son, Joseph Elmer Jr. the great-grandson of Newton Marion Rhodes, would later do the research reflected in the essays presented above.