THE OZARK MILL IS A PLACE WHERE CRAFTSMANSHIP MEETS DISCOVERY. INSPIRED BY THE SPIRIT OF THE MIDWEST, WE ARE COMMITTED TO DELIVERING SIMPLE PLEASURES & GENUINE HOSPITALITY. PROUD OF WHERE WE CAME FROM BUT RELEVANT TO THE FUTURE.
Retreat to the River
We are creating a unique gathering spot with vibrant venues, one-of-a-kind offerings, authentic goods, and memorable experiences that keep people coming back for more. This is a place where a celebration of history and legacy unfolds to inspire a new generation of travelers, adventurers and local trailblazers.
- The Riverside Grill
- Break bread and make memories at the distinctive and inviting Riverside Grill. We will celebrate culinary traditions with dishes like Riverside fried chicken while defining the future of Ozarks cuisine with seasonal, locally grown produce.
- The Garrison
- Indulge in handcrafted cocktails and small plates in this speakeasy-style hideaway named after local artist, bootlegger and original proprietor of the historic Riverside Inn, Howard Garrison. Featuring original wood beams, an antique bar and subtle nods to the past, The Garrison will transport you to a long-forgotten era.
- The Farm
- Get your hands dirty and help us harvest fruits, vegetables and flowers grown using organic practices. Modeled after the family farms that once dotted the Ozarks landscape, this urban farm will honor the true spirit of the Ozarks through the legacy of hard work.
- The Workshop
- Calling the welder, weaver, music maker, artist, seed saver, and merchant. This restored industrial garage offers flexible making space that will host interactive, hands-on learning experiences that allow you to share or discover new ways to make your modern mark on the simple life. Envisioned as a gathering center, The Workshop will foster community and creativity with freshly brewed coffee.
- The Chapel
- Enjoy a quiet moment next to the humbling power of the Finley River. This charming, open-air venue will invite your friends and family to gather for intimate ceremonies as you embark on new journeys.
An Evolving Legacy
Before there was a town,
The village carried the name of the mill and its owner. The original mill was built by the Kimberling family who squatted on the land until it was officially purchased by John Hoover. The mill was located at the convergence of the Finley River and the Ozark Trace, the mail delivery route through the area, and it filled many of the critical functions of the settlement such as the Post Office for receiving weekly deliveries.
The village of Ozark was incorporated with the mill serving as a community gathering place and official voting location. The name Ozark came from a term French traders used to refer to the bends of the Finley River "aux arcs". It would later become the county seat, an important note in the history of the town's growth and development.
The Civil War took a great toll on this region. Local folklore tells us that while the town was held by the Union, the Confederates controlled and used the mill for a time. By the end of the war, the area was largely depopulated, and many homes, crops and livestock had been burned. The milling industry, along with a dairy and beef production, brought Ozark back from the devastation of the War.
Following the Civil War, a vigilante group known as the Baldknobbers formed in the Ozarks. They delivered punishment on southern sympathizers, Bushwackers and others. The band of Baldknobbers in Ozark were so enraged by the influx of outsiders moving in to work the new rail line that they took it upon themselves to kill several innocent men. Three Baldknobbers, including the leader of the local band, Bullcreek Dave, were brought to justice for this crime by a hanging on the Ozark courthouse square.
After the mill was destroyed by fire for the second time, the Hawkins family bought and rebuilt the mill. They built a new concrete dam that produced a 90-horsepower drive from the river flow. After a third fire in 1939, they decided to no longer produce flour in an effort to prevent further fires.
Howard Garrison, a character from one of the longest standing local families, was arrested after a raid on his restaurant the Riverside Inn, when he was caught bootlegging and selling alcohol in the establishment. The famed local spot for fried chicken always reopened after raids or floods until 2010 when it was purchased with FEMA money and demolished. Just a mile from the mill, Garrison attributed Riverside's success to the advent of the automobile and the popularity of nearby Lindenlure.
After 50 years of operation, the Frisco Railway abandoned the Chadwick Flyer rail line from the city of Ozark to Chadwick in 1934 due to removal of local timber. "Prior to the closing of the line, business was so poor that on occasion the engineer would stop the train so that the train crew could pick blackberries and shoot quail."
The last commercially operating watermill in the state of Missouri, the Mill ceased operation. The mill is currently undergoing preservation efforts to save the historic structure from the hungry flood waters of the Finley. Come be a part of its reopening in 2019!
Our family is restoring
this mill with a genuine
for ozarks heritage.
A big idea, a bold
or maybe a mad, crazy
to making some magic
in the heart of the Ozarks.