Alley Mill Gets a Check Up

Alley Mill in winter
There is concern that this big sycamore is damaging the Mill's foundation.

NPS Photo

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News Release Date: March 6, 2014

Contact: Faye Walmsley, 573-323-4844

Eminence MO:Standing in the hot summer sun and cold winter winds for over a hundred and twenty years, historic Alley Mill can benefit from a checkup.Recently, the red mill received that much needed physical to determine its current health.

A group of experts visited the Alley Mill to access how well it has withstood the ravages of time. Architects, historians, and engineers joined local park staff in examining the Alley Mill from top to bottom. They crawled through the muddy basement and the dusty attic and investigated all the floors in between to uncover possible future rehabilitation needs.Among them were Don Stevens, the historian who wrote the classic book on the area, "A Homeland and a Hinterland"; Bruce Cardwell, civil engineer; Kim Shafer, landscape architect; Daniel Jackson, historical landscape architect; and Mark Chavez, historical architect. "Any discovered problems that could threaten the long term future of the Alley Mill will be addressed immediately," said Eric Daniels, Chief of Resource Management for Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

The team was especially concerned about the mill's foundation due to the encroachment of tree roots from a large sycamore growing next to the building. Further evaluation of the tree will determine the best course of action to address this issue.The concrete dam structure surrounding the turbine and extending across the spillway was also a worry. "If we have to repair the dam, it will be a major undertaking, but preserving the mill is our number one priority" said Rusty Rawson, the park's Chief of Facilities Management. "With this project, we will be cooperating closely with Judith Deel, Compliance Coordinator for the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office," states Rawson.

"The Alley Mill is the park's most popular iconic structure," said Jamie Cleaver, District Interpretive Ranger for the Alley area."We need to insure the historic mill is structurally solid as it goes into its second century. Over 30,000visitors a year enjoy the mill, so we want to keep it in good shape," she states.

Soon the team will send a full analysis of their inspection findings to the park. The report will be used to determine the course of action for Alley Mill and any repairs or stabilization that may be necessary.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways preserves the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork Rivers, the surrounding natural resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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