Great State: Re-Lighting the Mill

Great State
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YUKON, OKLAHOMA — It’s the place that put the mill in ‘Millers’, the old Yukon’s Best Flour Mill.

It’s been here for more than a century, a landmark that’s part of this town’s DNA to people like Pam Shelton.

“You’ve probably driven past this mill,” prompts a passenger in her car. “Millions of times,” she prompts. “Not just thousands but millions.”

Last year she’d seen enough. The old lights on the sign were burning out.

“It was just ugly,” she says. “I was so tired of seeing 19 out of 250 bulbs working on one side and the rest of them barely lit.”

This ‘Yukon Miller’, a retired high school teacher and administrator, decided to spearhead a campaign to fix the old sign’s lighting system.

Shelton says, “It was just one of those things. People saw the passion that I had and that other people had and just stepped on board.”

The souvenir they sold don’t do the year long campaign enough justice.

Re-Light the Mill organizers also sold old light bulbs in mason jars.

They might not work any longer but they did help light the way to June, 2013.

Of the old sign, Pam says, “We turned it off and it will be re-lit on June 28th.”

The old sign, last updated in 1989, got a facelift with the help of other former Yukon Millers like the owners of Metro Signs in Oklahoma City.

How many Millers does it take to change a light bulb?

There’s no punch line here. It took every, single one of them.

Shelton insists, “Because the people of Yukon have such a commitment to the Yukon Millers and Yukon’s Best. They wanted it to be re-lit.”

Modern traffic sees other Yukon landmarks these days.

But at night, from the 28th on, they’ll see a bright light to the north of the interstate, reminding travelers of another Yukon, this one along old Route 66, the original home of the ‘Millers’.

After raising $175,000, festivities for re-lighting the mill begin at 7:30. Organizers hope to flip the switch on the new sign around 9:30 Friday, June 28th.


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