About Edwards Mill
By Student Writer, Cody Wood
Edwards Mill, one of the many unique destinations at College of the Ozarks, has more than a 30-year history of turning out flour, corn meal, student-made baskets, and other hand-crafted products. During the late 1800s, flour and corn mills were plentiful around the Ozarks, but over time they became obsolete. In the early 1970s, the construction of the replica of a late 1800s mill was funded by Hubert C. Edwards. Since its completion in October of 1972, Edwards Mill has been used as a workstation for students at College of the Ozarks. Although the three-story building is not even 40 years old, many parts of the Mill, including the timbers and the water wheel, are much older.
The timbers used throughout the building range from 100 to 200 years old. Before finding their home at College of the Ozarks, most of the timbers were used in mills near Carthage, Missouri. Lending to its weathered, rustic appeal, the Mill’s walls are covered in red, western cedar, and the roof is made up of hand-split wood shingles.
The water wheel is more than 100 years old. It was originally salvaged from Jackson Mill on Beaver Creek near Ava, Missouri. The 14-foot water wheel has the ability to generate 15 horsepower. Both electricity and water can be used to power the Mill, however.
Accenting the landscape around the Mill are millstones. These millstones, that were once used to grind grains, are now used as decorative, historical art. Many of the millstones are more than 150 years old.
The newest part of the Mill is the grain sifter, which was built in the early 70s specifically for the Mill. It has the capability of putting out more than 1,000 pounds of grain per day.
Seventeen College of the Ozarks students work at Edwards Mill. Most of the time, the young men can be found weaving baskets on the upper floor or milling grain on the main floor. The ladies spend the majority of their time upstairs on the 50 to 80-year-old weaving looms. When they are not busy weaving blankets or placemats, the ladies help the men by making baskets.
"The weaving and looming stations allow me to use my creativity," says student worker Katie Stark. Junior Jesse Gagnon enjoys working at the Mill and says, "The supervisors are great, because they are fun to work with."
The basement currently displays tools and machines used in mills throughout the years. Among these antique tools is a 12-inch milling stone. This small grinding stone was found during the excavation of the building. This leaves the operators of the Mill to believe that the current site of Edwards Mill could have been the site of a small mill prior to the Civil War.
Along with being home to the grain sifter, the main floor serves as a display room for products made in Edwards Mill. It is also where all shipping and receiving take place.