There are a lot of old mills that still dot the landscape of the Missouri Ozarks. And since we were in the neighborhood, we decided to try to see as many of them as we could. A light rain started to fall on us as we drove away from Hodgson Mill, and towards another nearby mill. Zanoni Mill was built in 1905, although there had been a mill there since the Civil War. The current mill features the only overshot water wheel in the area, which used to run on the waters from a spring that gushes out 226,000 gallons of water a day. The mill isn’t in operation and is privately owned, but you can stop and take pictures…
To get to the next mill, we drove north in the rain through the Mark Twain National Forest. Tucked deep in the woods, down a bumpy dirt road, was the Topaz Mill. The mill was first established in 1840, around a spring that has a daily flow of 11 million gallons.
The current mill here was built in 1896. It was once the center of a small pioneer village, but all that remains now are the mill and an old general store.
The mill closed down in the 1930s, but the spring waters still gush around it.
We stood in the rain taking pictures and then headed out to another mill, which would take a bit of driving to get to. So after a quick bite for lunch, we drove east under gray and cloudy skies. A bit later we passed through the small town of Centerville, and drove to the Reed Springs Mill.
The mill here was built over a spring in 1881, and was used to grind corn. The turbine was also used to generate electricity.
This isn't the original mill, but actually a reproduction. The first mill here was taken apart, stone by stone, and sent to San Francisco for the 1939 World's Fair. A reconstruction was built here, while the original is now part of the Smithsonian.
After taking a few more pictures, we got back into the car and headed off to visit one last mill....