Rushing water was the power that turned grain into flour and timber into lumber at the many historic mills that you can visit around West Plains. Some mills provide an interpretive history about life in the 1800s, while others simply provide a place to walk, take photos, or just enjoy the beauty and history of the Ozarks.
- Original mill built in 1861
- Current mill constructed in 1897
- 28 million gallons per day
Hodgson Mill was built in 1861 by William Holeman at the base of the cliff where Hodgson Spring discharges. The spring produces 28 million gallons of water per day. The mill closed during the Civil War and it is unclear whether Holeman reopened the mill or had to build a new one after the war. Holeman operated the mill until his death in 1879.
In 1884, the mill was purchased for $500 by Alva Hodgson and his mother, Mary. Hodgson upgraded the machinery which made the mill capable of producing a higher quality “white” flour.
At the time, the mill building housed a general store, the Sycamore Post Office, sawmill, and cotton gin. Farmers visited the mill to have their grain (corn and wheat) ground into flour or meal.
A new mill was completed around 1897. This is the structure that stands today. Alva Hodgson’s brother, George, bought 1/3 interest in the mill and by 1901, had purchased the mill entirely from his brother. Alva Hodgson went on to build nearby Dawt Mill, completed in 1909. Alva died in 1921 and George continued to operate the mill until his death in 1927.
Ownership of the mill passed to Fred O. Foster from 1927-1934. In 1934, the mill was purchased by businessman Charles Theodore Aid. The mill remained in the Aid family until 1998.
The mill suffered flood damage in 1982 when water rose into the main milling room.
Between 1985 and 1993, Herbert Smith (great-nephew of Alva Hodgson) and his wife leased the mill and provided tours, a store, resort cabins and campground.
In 1998, the mill was sold to Hank and Jean Macler who registered it in the National Register of Historic Places. In 2011, the mill was sold to John and Gwen Deakle.
29 miles From West Plains
From Hwy 63 take CC Highway west for 21 miles. At Highway 181, turn left. In 2.75, stay on Highway 181 by turning right at the Junction of H Highway. Stay on 181 and in 4 miles, Hodgson Mill will be on your left.
Make it a day Trip
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