Skip to main content

Mill at Alley Spring, MO, circa 1995.
I will celebrate the release of the Daily Kos image uploader with my first photo diary.  Last week I took a tour of four large springs in the Ozarks of south central Missouri.  Today we will focus on Alley Spring.
Approaching the mill at Alley Spring, MO.
First glimpse of the old mill at Alley Spring.
Most places I go, I prefer to see natural features that are relatively undisturbed by humans.  This place is an exception.  The mill seems like it belongs here.  I first laid eyes on the mill and spring when I was eight years old.  My family would camp along the chilly waters of the spring branch.  At the time, it was part of Alley Spring State Park.
Mill at Alley Spring, MO.
In 1964, Congress passed legislation creating the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.  The federal government acquired private lands along Current River, and its tributary, Jacks Fork.  Eventually the Park Service absorbed the state parks in the area.  One big change - bad news for campers but good news for water quality - was to move the campgrounds away from the rivers and spring branches.
Spring branch, Alley Spring, MO.

Water gate for mill at Alley Spring, MO.
The first mill was built at Alley Spring in 1868.  It was replaced in 1894 by the current structure, a three-story mill employing a metal turbine rather than a water wheel.  Four grinding machines were installed; three for wheat and one for corn.  This was a marketing mistake by the mill owners, because most farmers grew corn instead of wheat.
Corn and wheat grinding machines, Alley Spring mill, MO.
The above image shows the four grinding machines.  The first three were for wheat; the taller one in the back was for corn.
Grain sifting machine, Alley Spring mill, MO.
In the second floor of the mill were sifting machines like the one above.  They would sort the grains by size for further grinding.

Unlike many mills across the country, the mill at Alley Spring never fell into a long period of disrepair.  As its use for grinding grain declined, it became a tourist destination, eventually becoming a state park in 1924.

Alley Spring, MO.
I will close with pictures of the spring itself.  It is a fine example of the large springs in the area, the result of karst topography where limestone and similar minerals are dissolved by groundwater.  Surface water disappears into sinkholes and caves, emerging miles away in clear, cold springs.  The average flow of Alley Spring is 81 million gallons per day.
Alley Spring, MO.
Alley Spring, MO.
Alley Spring, MO.
Alley Spring, MO.
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site