The History of Springfield's Water Supply, Part 2

Jun 11, 2008

Valley Water Mill is a place where the past and the future intersect. Construction is underway on the Watershed Center. It will be a place to educate future generations about how to protect bodies of water in the Ozarks. It will also be a place to pay tribute to the history of this place. Loring Bullard is executive director of the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks and author of the book "Consider the Source: A History of the Springfield, Missouri Public Water Supply." He says the water at Valley Water Mill is part of a network of ground water.

Those fascinating stories begin with water’s influence on where people decided to live.

As for the specific history of Valley Water Mill, Bullard says this site was tied in to the source of Springfield’s water going back to 1883.

But it wasn’t immediately apparent that this site, located on the northern edge of Springfield had such a connection to the city’s supply of water. Bullard says city officials soon figured it out based on the flow of the spring at certain times of the year.

Bullard says the water company had an interesting solution.

And since this arrangement was less than ideal for the water company, there were efforts to acquire the McCracken Mill property.

Bullard says in the early 1900’s, the water company built a larger dam and pipeline, which would open up and feed water directly downstream into Fulbright Spring. That would help with the summer water supply. Just as there were concerns decades ago about the water supply in summer, the same concerns have arisen at times in recent years.