I saw the sign, “Bollinger Mill 5 miles”
But, I nearly talked myself out of taking the turn to the south. I was tired, it was getting late and ready to rain, but the voice in the back of my head said “Do it, Do it”. I felt like I was back in high school struggling with peer pressure, so I argued with that voice, calling it the devil, along with a few other choice words. I mean, how could you try to convince me to drive 5 more un-necessary miles when I’ve been on the road all day, and still have at least 2 more hours traveling these winding roads to get home! Geez, the nerve of you!
You see, I had been traveling the rural Missouri roads nearly all day, trying to make my way from Salem, Missouri to Cape Girardeau, via the scenic route.
I know now, EXACTLY what Louis and Clark felt like…
Okay, Okay, so I wasn’t hiking and ascending Missouri’s highest elevations, or traversing rivers while Indians fired serrated tipped arrows at me, or avoiding predatory animals who were hunting me for their next meal, so maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. But, thinking there has to be food, or water, or a place to camp just over the top of the next hill was a feeling Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and I, can all relate to.
Back to my mental tennis match about Bollinger Mill
I let the devil win this time, and headed south the extra 5 miles. Normally, I try hard to keep his achievements with me to a minimum, so ‘ go ahead, chock this up in your win column, buddy’! But, as you can see, this was worth the additional 30 minutes of drive time, and thankfully I made it in the nick of time, before the sky’s opened up and dumped copious amounts of rain on the situation. Had I been 30 minutes later, the rain would have forbid me from getting this photo of the entire grounds of Bollinger Mill with my Mavic 2 Pro.
As I said before with Dillard Mill, I love the serenity and history of these old mills, and hitting two of them on this trip, made for a rather gratifying day. The crystal-clear emerald water, contrasting with the blueish-white water as it spills over the falls looks inviting from up here. The Whitewater River, lazily snakes through the rural Missouri fields until it reaches the mill, it’s here when the flow of the water becomes a necessity to power the turbine systems; conveyors, separators and scourers.
The Burfordville Covered Bridge
Seen spanning across the river is the oldest of the four remaining covered bridges in the State of Missouri. It served as a vital link, to the farmers driving wagonloads of grain destined for the mill. Today, it is merely a foot-bridge for pedestrians, oh and a subtle reminder of the simple life which took place in the 1860’s.
The Burning of the Original Mill
It is reported that when George Bollinger’s daughter Sarah Daugherty inherited the 640 acres of property, the mill and bridge seccumed to arson. One of her son’s was suspected of shooting at a Union wagon train, and in retaliation, and because they suspected the mill provided meal to the Confederate Army, they set it on fire. Un-fazed by the challenge, the new owner, Solomon R. Buford rebuilt the mill on its original limestone foundation in 1867. Today, it appears exactly as it did in 1867. If you have a chance to visit the grounds, it is truly worth the 5 mile detour south from Hwy 72.