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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow ANSWER MAN: What was the old M&M Company in Island City?


ANSWER MAN: What was the old M&M Company in Island City?

The firm, whose full title was the Island City Mercantile & Milling Co., was, at one time, one of the leading mercantile institutions in the state. It began operating in the mid-1880s, according to the book “Sweet Dreams: The La Grande Sugar Factory,” by Bob Bull of La Grande.

The mercantile and milling company was created in late 1884 and soon took over a mill and several businesses in Island City. M&M operated the mill through 1896 after which it was taken over by the Pioneer Milling Co.

M&M was one of the largest mercantile institutions in the state, according to “Sweet Dreams.” The company’s top sales were at least $300,000 a year. 

The business had a general building, a hardware store and tin shop, and a harness shop and repair shop. 

The Island City Mercantile & Milling Co. had buildings at McAlister Road and First Street and at Second and A streets, according to Judy Rygg, the City of Island City’s public works director. 

The flour mill’s implement department was a particularly successful portion of the company. It carried farm and mill machinery. 

The company operated through at least 1902 when its warehouse and harness shop was destroyed by fire. The company likely stopped operating after this time, Bull said.

When was the first Mass celebrated at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church in 
La Grande?

The first Mass was celebrated at the church on Christmas eve of 1915, according to the Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church website, www.olvlg.org.

Construction of the church, located at 1002 L Ave., started in 1914. The brick church, which features at least 20 striking stained glass windows, succeeded a much smaller wooden Catholic church. 

That church was constructed around 1890 and was located where the Joseph Building, on K Avenue and Fourth Street, is located today.

Contact Dick Mason at 541-786-5386 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Follow Dick on Twitter @lgoMason.


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