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The Greer Spring Mill is one of the Ozarks’ oldest, traditional water mills. Located on the second largest spring in the Ozarks, the mill is in desperate need of renovations. For this reason, a team of volunteers have formed a nonprofit dedicated to funding projects that benefit the Eleven Point River, starting with the Greer Spring Mill restoration. KSMU’s Julie Greene has more.
The Friends of the Eleven Point River is designed to work alongside the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service in managing the area surrounding the waterway. They’ll also be working to raise funds, as the Forest Service doesn’t have the means to restore historic buildings.
Brian Sloss has served as the president of the Friends of the Eleven Point River since the organization formed about six months ago.
“In Oregon County, a lot of our history’s been disappearing. There’s only one other mill in Oregon County that’s been saved, and this one will disappear if somebody doesn’t do something to save it. It’s in rough shape,” Sloss said.
The restoration of the Greer Spring Mill is the organization’s first project and is thought to take their attention for years to come. The Forest Service hired a contractor who specializes in historic restoration, but because of the government shutdown, price details are unclear.
As soon as the organization receives an estimate, the members plan to apply for grants and raise money through fundraisers.
“We’re hoping that it’ll serve as a place where school kids and tourists will be able to take a look at it. It depends on how much we can get done. Ideally, I’d love to have it completely restored and have people be able to go in and take a walk through it,” Sloss said.
The Greer Mill was built by Samuel W. Greer in 1899. At the time, construction of the mill challenged engineering logic. Instead of being built by the dam, the mill’s power source, the mill operated by running a cable from the dam to the mill, which was uncommon for that time period.
To make a donation or to learn more about the Greer Spring Mill restoration, visit their website www.friendsoftheelevenpointriver.org.
For KSMU News, I’m Julie Greene.