In 1909, with family and town backing, the Bishop sons started up an idle mill in Pendleton, Oregon.
The town of Pendleton, a major railhead serving the Columbia Plateau, was a wool shipping center for sheep growers of the region. The mill, originally built in 1893, began as a wool scouring plant, which washed the raw wool before shipping. Due to increased freight tariffs on the shipment of scoured wool, the business soon became unprofitable.
In 1895, the scouring plant was enlarged and converted into a woolen mill which made bed blankets and robes for Native Americans. This venture also failed and the mill went idle. In 1909, the Bishops opened the facility and constructed a new, more efficient mill building with aid of a local bond issue. In September of that year, the first products emerged from the new finishing department and the tradition of Pendleton Woolen Mills began.
Today the mill stands on the same foundation as it did in 1909, but has added a retail operation along with investments in state-of-the-art technology.