Brian Sloss (Board Member) and William McNeil (Archeologist, Forest Service) presented a status of Greer Mill and plans to save it.
Greer Springs has been of interest for local people and visitors for many years, especially the mill. About 25 years ago Anheiser Busch wanted to purchase the site to bottle beer from there because the water was so pure. A group got together and leased the land (with donations from trusts and Anheiser Bush) for 25 years. The Forest Service has assumed the lease of the area from an expiring lease but they can’t restore historical Buildings. A structural engineering team is coming to analyze and prioritize what needs to be done to keep the structure from falling in. Samuel Greer built the mill around th 1860’s. There are three parts to the mill including the 3rd mill up 400 Ft. It is turbine controlled and has 3 tower and 4 different systems from bottom to top. The technology was invented on the site and was very advanced for the time.
The History and pictures of Greer Mill can be seen at http://www.friendsoftheelevenpointriver.org. This group is a non-profit group that was set up to work in conjunction with the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service to help fund projects beneficial to the Eleven Point river, Missouri’s only National Wild and Scenic River. Their first project is a big one and will take all their attention for a number of years, the restoration of the Greer Spring Mill. The old mill was built in 1899 and is located on highway 19 just south of the river at the top of the hill. The mill is also .75 miles up a steep hill from the Greer spring branch and was operated by a cable running from the spring branch up the hill to the mill, which is very unique for its time. The mill house is unstable and falling in.
The goals are to inventory stabilize the structure, remove trees (a massive tree might fall and demoish the whole site) , clean it up, and maybe add a porch. There are some old cabins. There is a large prehistoric camp (12,000 years ago) site and evidence of some moonshine still activity.
The group has started raising money. They had a successful fundraising trivia night at the Harlin Museum in December. There will be a chili supper at the Alton-Thayer Basketball game January 7. There will be a canoe race and barbq on April 26th which needs at least 30 entrants.
The Alton High School has done a video shot of the mill, spring branch, spring source and memories of Greer Mill. DVD’s will be sold to raise money.
Grants are being researched for the preservation project. Donations can be made at their web site.
The Historical Society donated $100 and offered three Summary Books for their auctions. OCMO also recommended publication of their own summary book with Greer History and pictures in the front for fundraising.