Caledonia, MO and Dillard Mill
Missouri Historic Towns and Villages

Footprints of the past come alive ~ Visit these historic towns and villages during your Missouri Vacation

For a directory of Lodging, Bed and Breakfast Inns, Hotels, Cabins, Cottages and Campgrounds near Caledonia and Dillard Mill State Historic Site, please click here.  All of our fine hosts are ready to help plan your Missouri history tour in our region.

1895 Map of The Black River Recreation Area and Arcadia Valley Region

Caledonia, Missouri ~ History and Landmarks, Washington County, MO

Jane Alexander Thompson House, circa 1848

Take a step back in time to a place that has remained virtually unchanged since the 1800s.

When Thomas Flanders traveled to Caledonia in preparation for its listing in the National Register of Historic Places, he wrote "The houses, streetscapes, and landscapes they constructed remain, in great measure unchanged, from the nineteenth century."

The village of Caledonia (population in 2000 was 158) is located in the Bellevue Valley in nearby Washington County. The village was founded in 1819 by young Alexander Craighead, who opened a frontier store on Goose Creek and platted the town of Caledonia around it. Craighead, possessed of impeccable high Scotch-Irish family credentials, named the town after the Roman Empire's Latin name for Scotland. The builders of Caledonia's houses "cleaved to that chaste style of the early nineteenth century that Thomas Jefferson defined as proper for the Republic. The families must have been not only conservative in taste, but singularly devoted to a classical tradition in keeping with their Latin name, Caledonia (a rare place name for the United States)." When strolling through Caledonia, you will see the influence of Greek Revival Style architecture. Almost every house has a Greek Revival Style front door entryway.

In 1992, Mr. Flanders continued "Caledonia is different. It looks different. Most obvious to the visitor perhaps is that it remains 'unspoiled'. Not only is it free of modern franchise glitz and roadside 'conveniences', but it retains in its streets, lots, dwellings and public buildings, its barns, gardens, fences, walls, yards, and walks, the imprint of its history. Still evident in its landscape is the intention of its founders that it be spacious, rational, enlightened, and Protestant Christian."

Many of these old homes have been lovingly restored and now serve as antique shops or restaurants. 

While in Caledonia, visit the Bellevue Presbyterian Cemetery and the church, the oldest protestant cemetery and church in continuous use west of the Mississippi River. 

Caledonia is located on Hwy. 21, 10 miles north of Elephant Rocks State Park, at the junction of Hwy. 32.

Reference: The Kith and Kin of Caledonia, by Thomas Flanders, Ozarks Watch, Vol. V, No. 4, Spring 1992

Ramsey House, circa 1824
Carr House, Main Street, Caledonia

For lodging and accommodations near Caledonia, Missouri click here.

Historical Marker, Caledonia, MO

Dillard Mill Historic Site, Missouri ~   MO History and Landmarks
One mile south of Dillard off Highway 49 in Crawford County, just outside of Davisville

(573) 244-3120

Dillard Mill, located in nearby Crawford County only a short drive away, is particularly relevent today in light of our country's challenge to find renewable energy resources.  We encourage you to visit Dillard Mill Historic Site where you'll witness first-hand how water was turned in to power to grind wheat into flour.

A barn-red mill nestled among green trees beside blue waters rolling over a rock dam create the colorful setting of one of Missouri's most picturesque historic sites. Completed in 1908, Dillard Mill sits along Huzzah Creek and was the second mill built at the site. The first, Wisdom's Mill, built in the 1850s, was destroyed by fire in 1895. Innovations in the "new, modernized mill" included steel roller mills for grinding the wheat and a turbine to power the mill. For years, farmers brought their grain to the mill to be ground into flour and eventually livestock feed. The mill ceased operation in 1956.

Today, most of the original machinery is still intact and operational. A turn of a wheel brings the machinery back to life during tours of the mill, which are given year-round. (Groups should contact the site in advance).  Picnic sites and a hiking trail are available at the historic site, which is located one mile south of Dillard off Highway 49 in Crawford County.

Each Spring at the old mill, experience an early 1900s picnic.  Sponsored by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the event is free and open to the public.  With the red, water-powered gristmill and clear Huzzah Creek as a backdrop and bluegrass music filling the air, guests will truly feel as if they have stepped back in time at this annual picnic.  Featured activities include old-time demonstrations, storytelling, spinning and weaving, blacksmithing, quilting, pottery making, horseshoeing, flintknapping, soap making, beading and rope making. Food and drink will be available to purchase. The first floor of the mill will be open with staff available to answer questions.  This event recalls the town picnics held in nearly all small towns during the time period of 1900 until the late 1930s.

Be certain to make your lodging reservations for this delightful Spring event.
For lodging and accommodations near Dillard Mill and Dillard, Missouri area click here.

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Next on the History Tour, read about the Missouri Civil War   Click here to learn about the important roll the Arcadia Valley and Black River Region played in shaping the outcome of the war.  Take a Missouri Civil War tour of our region and learn about the Battle of Pilot Knob at Fort Davidson, Fort Barnesville, and how Missouri became embroiled in the conflict.


Native American History in Missouri & De Soto in 1541  
Missouri Native American history in the Arcadia Valley Region, Black River Recreation Area goes back to the Paleo-Indians, the ancient peoples of the Americas who were present at the end of the last ice age. They camped and hunted along Ozark rivers, perhaps as long as 12,000 to 14,000 years ago. Read more here.

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