I recently had the chance to visit the Bollinger Mill State Historic Site in Burfordville, Missouri. It is kind of a running joke between my friend and I that I love bridges and old buildings so this site was perfect since it has an old mill and a covered bridge! It is not quite two hour south of St. Louis so it is a great day trip!
Around 1800, George Frederick Bollinger began construction of the mill and dam on the Whitewater River. Families would travel from surrounding communities to have their grain ground into flour. However, the original mill is not what you see today. During the Civil War, the Union army burned the mill “to prevent the passing of flour into rebel hands”. In 1867, Solomon Buford acquired the land and rebuilt the mill you see today on the original limestone foundation.
The first floor of the mill contains interesting exhibits and artifacts. Be sure to check it out. For a small fee, you can take a guided tour of the upper floors. A tip is that you can visit the basement. Right as you go through the front door of mill, turn right and head down the stairs. Down here, you can see the water rush into the mill. It is a pretty neat feature.
The grounds around the mill are beautiful with towering mature trees, picnic tables and a large open grassy area. It is neat to just take a stroll and take in all the different vantage points to see the mill.
The other unique feature at this historic site is the Burfordville Covered Bridge. Only four covered bridges remain in the State of Missouri. Construction began in 1858 making this bridge the oldest surviving covered bridge in the state.
The bridge was operated as a toll road until 1908. Did you know that it would cost you 3 cents to cross the bridge on foot and a “four wheeled pleasure carriage drawn by one or more horses” would cost 25 cents?
Be sure to walk across the bridge and see the mill from the other side of the river.
Overall, I loved touring this site. It is rich with history and beautiful. Be sure to check out Missouri State Parks website for more information!