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Rural Missouri Magazine

The old red mill
Alley Spring, Eminence

by Jim McCarty

Few historic sites in Missouri have been photographed as much as the picturesque Alley Spring Mill. The mill, built in 1893, carries the name of John Alley, who brought the post office to the little community located in a valley in Shannon County.

Today parts of the community have been restored, including the Storeys Creek one room school, the Alley Store and an historic garden. Once a state park, Alley Spring became part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways in 1971.

The red mill and its spring are the focal point for this park as it was in 1912 when a man named Conrad Hug made this one of Missouri’s first resorts. The mill has most of its original equipment intact and is open for tours every day from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. A short hiking trail leads around the mill, crosses the spring branch and takes visitors high above the settlement for a birds-eye view.

Alley Spring releases an average of 84 million gallons of water every day and it holds the record for the largest measured flow of any Ozark spring, an incredible 1.7 billion gallons of water.

Camping can be found at the nearby campground that also has access to floating on the clear-flowing Jacks Fork River. Picnic sites and shelters are abundant and well-maintained. Alley Spring and Mill are just a short drive west from Eminence. For more information, call (573) 226-3945.

 

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