Throughout the 1800’s, Missouri settlers often established towns near rivers to help establish lines of trade and travel. Mills were a cornerstone to these small communities, especially in the Ozarks where powerful springs helped foster the energy needed to ground corn into cornmeal. Many of the old mills scattered throughout the Missouri hillsides have been left to decay and only lucky hikers pass by their locations. However, there are a hand full of mills that have been preserved, restored, and protected in the Show Me State. Here are 13 incredible mills that you can find hidden among the Missouri hills.
1. Rockbridge Mill
The Rockbridge Mill is privately owned and is a part of an amazing Ozark outdoors retreat. Anglers from all over the country visit
Rockbridge Rainbow Trout & Game Ranch for a great getaway in the great outdoors. The mill at Rockbridge was enlarges in 1888 and continued to operate until the late 1940's. By 1954 the property had been converted into a fisherman's retreat where visitors could stay the weekend, fish, dine and enjoy everything that the Ozark countryside had to offer. For information about the
Rockbridge Rainbow Trout & Game Ranch visit their website
2. Zanoni Mill
While not as much history has been documented about the privately owned Zanoni Mill, you can catch a glimpse of it as you drive by. Alternatively, you can stay at the Zanoni Mill Ranch, which operates as a bed and breakfast as well as an event venue. Find them at HC 78 Box 1010, Zanoni. For more information find their Facebook page
3. Montauk Mill
Editor's Note: As of April 17, 2020, Montauk Mill is temporarily closed.
Once a-thriving community, Montauk was home to a large gristmill. Montauk Mill was one of four mills that operated off the waters of Montauk Spring. Now this old mill is a part of Montauk State Park. Tours are offered during warmer months. Find the park at 345 County Rd 6670,
4. Watkins Woolen Mill
Today, Watkins Mill is the only woolen mill remaining with its original machinery still in place.The mill opened in 1860 but was out of business by 1898. Now the site is owned by the Missouri State Parks Department. You can catch a tour of the mill all year long. Visit the mill at 26600 Park Rd. North, Lawson.
5. Dillard Mill
When Dillard Mill was completed in 1908, it was the most modern mill in the Ozarks. Today, it is one of the most well preserved water mills in Missouri. Visitors can tour the mill and see the original machinery in action. Find the mill at 142 Dillard Mill Rd.,
6. Bollinger Mill
Editor's Mill: Bollinger Mill is open but is not currently offering guided tours due to the pandemic.
In the early 1800's a mill was established by George Frederick Bollinger along the Whitewater River. During the Civil War the mill was destroyed by Union forces. The present-day, four-story stone and brick mill was completed in 1867 and remained operational until 1957. By 1961 the mill had been sold to the Cape Girardeau County Historical Society. Today the Missouri State Parks Department owns the mill and surrounding land. Currently, tours have been suspended while the mill undergoes restorations but visitors can still access the main floor. Find the mill at 113 Bollinger Mill Rd.,
7. Alley Mill
This stunning mill sits quietly tucked inside the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. The beautiful red mill that you can visit today was constructed in 1894 but originally was unpainted. Unfortunately, the mill was best equip to grind flour despite the fact that corn was the most popular crop in the area. This design error coupled with annual flooding resulted in the mill only finding marginal success. After the mill shuttered the area became a part of the national parks system and gained protected status. Find Alley Mill located six miles west of Eminence on State Route 106.
8. Dawt Mill
By 1866 a mill had been established in Dawt. However in 1893, the mill was set ablaze by a rival milling company and the structure was a total loss. Sometime between 1897 and 1900 Alva Hodgson decided to purchase the land where the former Mill sat. The Hodgson's were already sucessfull mill owners and they re-built the Dawt Mill which continued to operate until the 1960's. Today the mill is a part of a river resort baring the same name located at HC 1, Box 1090, Tecumseh. For more information visit their website
9. Hodgson Mill
One of the most beautiful mills in the Ozarks is Hodgson Mill. The current structure was built in 1897 on Bryant Creek. Although not operational, the mill still has much of its original machinery. You can find stone-ground bakery products bearing the Hodgson name in stores across the country but the milling is now done at a modern facility in Gainesville. Find this picturesque mill at 5 Merrimack St., Dora.
10. Klepzig Mill
Hidden along the Rocky Falls Trail in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways is the slowly decaying Klepzig Mill. This non-operational mill is located just above a stunning cascade on Rocky Creek. Locate the trail-head at County Rd NN-526, Winona.
11. Hulston Mill
Hulston Mill was built in 1840 at the confluence of the Sac River and Turnback Creek. The mill is credited with saving the Union Army during the Civil War by providing them with food sources after other mills refused to supply them. The mill was opperational until 1967. After the mill closed a resivoir was planned that would have distroyed the mill. However, Hulston Mill was moved to its present location for preservation. Tours are offered on the second Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm during summer months. Visit the mill at 36 Hulston Mill Ln. Everton
12. Britain Mill
A mill has been at this location in Lawrence County since roughly 1839. Britain Mill is named after one of its former owners, the Britain Family. After the mill closed, flooding continued to damage the old mill. By 1974 an extensive renovation project was started by then owner, Bill Cameron, in memory of his late wife who had spend her youth with the Britain Family at the mill. Today the mill is still privately owned but mill tours are conducted by appointment, at no charge. From Interstate 44 take State Route 96 at Exit 57. Take the left at the intersection of FR 1207 and you'll find the mill on the right about 1/4 mile down the road.
13. Hammond Mill
Historic Hammond Mill was built in 1907 and continued to operate until 1940. Now the mill has been converted into a private residence. You can catch a glimpse of this old mill but remember to respect the owner's property and privacy. From Rockbridge take Hwy 95 south to Hwy D. Turn left on D to find Hammond Mill.
Have you been to any of the mills on this list? Do you have memories or stories from when these mills were operational? Share your experience or history with us in the comments below.
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