Group dedicates Greer Spring millstone in Alton, Mo.
ALTON, Mo. (KY3) - A millstone from the mid-1800′s has a new home on the lawn of the Oregon County Courthouse in Alton, Mo.
A group calling itself “Friends of the Eleven Point River” held a dedication today under cloudy skies, just before thunderstorms put the area under a tornado warning. The stone spent many years on private property until it was moved to the courthouse lawn.
The millstone came from Greer Spring Mill, built by Confederate Captain Samuel Greer in 1859. The mill was destroyed during the Civil War, however, the mill was rebuilt. The mill stopped operating in 1922, but the mill itself is standing on the hillside above the spring. As of 2016, work is well underway to restore the building, with help from the U.S. Forest Service, HistoriCorps, and Friends of the Eleven Point River.
Greer Spring pumps out about 180,000 gallons of water an hour--more than four million gallons a day, ranking it as the second-largest spring in the Ozarks. Big Spring in Van Buren takes the number one spot. Greer Spring was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1980.
Debbie Sallings, board member for the Alton Chamber of Commerce, hopes the new historical marker and millstone will give visitors another reason to visit the Square in the tiny town of Alton, population of about 600.
“Tourism is extremely important to our local economy,” she said. “We are in a very remote location, so industry doesn’t want to come here,” Sallings added that Oregon County is the poorest county in Missouri.
Brian Sloss, representing Friends of the Eleven Point, delivered a speech during the dedication. He told KY3 that the Eleven Point River has always been, and remains the lifeblood of the area.
“Just look at the river on any given weekend, and you’ll see people in canoes and kayaks, people fishing, or maybe just hiking, he said. “Not only does it bring money to the area, it gives our local people access to many types of recreation.”
Greer Spring and the mill are located on State Highway 19, about nine miles north of Alton.
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