There’s a new face in the Old Mill… the face of a Pond Monkey.  


Bustling with restaurants, shops, and a movie theater we sometimes get wrapped up in the modern-day splendor of Bend’s iconic Old Mill district. And while its name tips you off and the smokestacks can be seen all around town, many of us might find it hard to picture just what it was like when the Old Mill was exactly that: a mill.  


Let’s say it was the early 1900s and you considered yourself to be both a brave and coordinated person you might consider a career as a Pond Monkey. At least that’s what Dan McLennan did. Dan was born in a logging camp in 1877 in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. In 1909 he traveled to Bend and worked at Bend Company Mill before transitioning to work as a Pond Monkey for Brooks-Scanlon Lumber Mill in 1915. To be a Pond Monkey you had to wield a peavey (a heavy wooden lever with a pointed metal tip and hook) while walking over floating logs to free up and prevent log jams. No doubt a very dangerous occupation.

Now visitors can have a closer link to the past when they walk through the Old Mill District shopping center. Located in the heart of the shopping plaza is an info booth stocked with guides, maps, and brochures. On that booth, MC Smith Signs installed a photograph circa 1935 of Dan McLennan, “Pond Monkey”. Look closely to spot the smokestacks!  


The production team at MC Smith Signs wanted to make sure Dan’s photo would bring history to life. The Deschutes County Historical Society & Museum provided us with a high-quality scan of the photo, but it was our job to make the digital come alive. Using our marvelous technology, our designers were able to breathe life into an ancient black and white photo, bringing out the texture of Dan’s jacket, the spikes on his boots, and the expression of his face. With this fine-tuning, we were able to achieve depth and detail in this large scale version of a very small historic photo.


Next time you’re at The Old Mill pay a visit to Dan and remind yourself of a special part of Bend’s history.