Traditional gristmills in America were powered by water and used by local farmers to grind their grain into ground meal or flour. Back in the day, many communities had their own mills, much like this one from 1938 pictured on the right, and were dependent on them for the production of bread and their survival.
Today, most people just pick up their bread from a local supermarket so gristmills aren’t frequently seen in communities around America anymore. But College of the Ozarks features a traditional water-powered mill right on campus, where whole-grain meal and flour are produced. It was built in 1973 with wood harvested from other mills in the state of Missouri.
Edwards Mill is not just a productive campus element, but a beautiful sight to see. During the spring and summer months, the area is filled with lush green grass and lively trees, visitors, students and a host of ducks and geese that relax on nearby Lake Honor. During the winter months, Edwards Mill is a peaceful, serene location with quiet waters that visitors can still enjoy.
Edwards Mill was built with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Hubert C. Edwards (hence the name of the mill) and it’s powered by a 12-foot water wheel. The wheel is turned with the runoff water from Lake Honor, which is right across the road. The wheel makes for a great photo op and is a fantastic display of what once was a large part of traditional American communities.
Inside, visitors can enjoy a display of homemade goods produced right there at the mill including small bags of whole-grain meal and flour, hand-woven rugs, shawls, placemats and baskets. Upstairs, students work in a weaving studio to create the products sold on the main floor and downstairs, students hand-weave baskets. There’s also an interesting display of antique milling equipment downstairs that visitors can browse freely.
College of the Ozark’s Edwards Mill is a fascinating place to visit, so definitely stop by! There are always student workers at the mill who are friendly and more than willing to chat about the work they do. For more information about C of O, visit www.bransonshows.com.
Stay tuned to the Branson Shows Blog for the next article in the C of O Attraction Guide series on The C of O Greenhouses.