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.