Community, Springfield

Booth-Kelly becoming a hub again

Oregon Axe Throwing in Suite 147 of the Booth-Kelly Center just celebrated its first anniversary there. VICTORIA STEPHENS/THE CHRONICLE

SPRINGFIELD – Booth-Kelly was a central hub for the City of Springfield in its early formation. And recently it has become a center of activity once again. This stems from the unique and interesting, creative clutter of businesses there. The Booth-Kelly Center at 303 S. 5th St. includes an eclectic mix of companies including: Escape the Room, Oregon Axe Throwing, Urban Lumber Co. and Board & Brush Creative Studio, to name a few. All are located within the former Booth-Kelly mill complex, straight south on 5th Street, across the railroad tracks near the old Mill Race.
The dominant structure in the Booth-Kelly Center complex is the massive multi-story ”crane shed” that looks out onto the Mill Race’s river. It is underneath this structure that many of the businesses are located. The Booth-Kelly Trailhead, which can be found behind the business complex, is the starting point for the fairly new three-mile, multiuse Mill Race Path.
Beginning in 1852, Elias Briggs, who founded Springfield, dug the Mill Race to provide power for a saw and flour mill. In 1902, Booth-Kelly Lumber Company built a mill at the current site. The mill burned to the ground in 1911 and was rebuilt in 1912; some portions of that structure remain today. In its prime, the mill employed a large number of residents and was a central feature of the town, with the Mill Race a popular place for picnics, fishing and swimming.
In 1959, Georgia-Pacific bought the lumber mill and Mill Race. And in 1985, Georgia-Pacific donated 76 acres of the Booth-Kelly property, the Mill Pond and two-thirds of the Mill Race to the City of Springfield. The Mill Race itself is an important source of water, as Springfield Utility Board obtains drinking water from well fields in that area. It runs along the Middle Fork of the Willamette River to Island Park, where it joins the main stem of the Willamette River.
The Booth-Kelly Center, along with the revitalized section of Downtown Springfield, forms the hub of the Booth-Kelly Makers District, a collective of creatives that extends throughout the Glenwood/Springfield area. The group actively encourages community involvement and support for local artisans throughout the area and holds monthly gatherings on the last Wednesday of the month. (Visit
Some companies of interest within the Booth-Kelly Center include Oregon Axe Throwing, an indoor axe throwing lounge for ages 12 and older, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary in the Booth Kelly location (
Board & Brush Creative Studio hosts DIY creative workshops for groups using woodworking techniques and graphics to create decorative and inspirational signs and home décor (
A description on the Escape the Room’s website explains: ”Escape Rooms are an adventurous, interactive game designed for small groups, friends, families, co-workers, or corporate functions. While in themed game rooms, you and your team will work to escape using clues, solving puzzles and searching for hidden messages. Your objective is to solve the riddles and escape the room in the allotted time” (
And Urban Lumber Co. is unique in that it specializes in creating large one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture from sustainably salvaged trees throughout the city. The materials are gathered locally from trees that might otherwise go to waste (
The Booth-Kelly property is owned by the City of Springfield, which began restorations to the location in 2005. It includes 17 acres of land and 26 large commercial and manufacturing spaces.



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