Exploring Bollinger Mill

Sometimes a spontaneous adventure is necessary. A trip meant for lunch and errand-running turns into an afternoon full of laughs and adventure. This was one of those.


As my best friend and I finished our to-do list, we noticed a sign pointing the way to Bollinger Mill. As often as we had been through that particular area, neither of us had noticed that sign before. We decided to check it out!


Bollinger Mill is located in Burfordville, Missouri. This area was settled in the year 1797. This was when George Frederick Bollinger received a land grant from the Spanish Government. He, along with several other families, moved from his home in North Carolina to what is now Burfordville, Missouri.

IMG_2382.JPGIn 1800, Bollinger began construction on a log dam and mill on the bank of the Whitewater River. Twenty-five years later, he redid his work using limestone. The dam and mill worked under Bollinger’s care for seventeen years.

In 1842, Bollinger passed away, and the dam and mill was left to his daughter Sarah Daugherty. Her sons continued to run the mill until the Civil War.

Daugherty and her sons supported the Confederate army. Union soldiers burned the mill to prevent the flour and corn meal from aiding the Confederates. After the war, Solomon R.  Burford purchased the mill. The four-story mill we see today was built on the original limestone foundation from the 1825 building. Burford completed this addition in the year 1867.

In 1897, Cape County Milling Company took over operations at the mill and continued to be in full operation until 1953. This is when the mill was purchased by relatives of George Bollinger. The family donated the dam and mill to the Cape Girardeau Historical Society, and it was handed over to the State of Missouri in 1967.

If you are looking for a fun afternoon adventure, you should check out Bollinger Mill State Historic Site. (Just make a restroom stop before you get there… 😉 )

When you arrive at the park, you’ll notice the Whitewater River running under the covered bridge and behind the mill. (To read about the covered bride, click here.) The park has some fantastic potential picnic spots! Spend some time exploring outside the mill, around the water, and at the bridge, then tour the inside!

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(The photos in the slideshow above belong to Missouri State Parks.)

The first floor of the mill is open to the public for self-guided tours. You can get a general idea of the milling process from the signs posted by each tool. For a small charge, you can go on a guided tour of all four floors of the mill. Your guide will explain the milling process in greater detail, and explain the tools and equipment  used to turn wheat into flour and corn into corn meal.

I highly suggest that you pay for a guided tour of the mill. Seeing the equipment and understanding how they are used to mill wheat and corn was very interesting!

The photos below are some that I took of the milling equipment. (To see descriptions of the equipment, click on the first image and view the set as a slideshow.)

This is the beam where an owner of the mill stuck the stars from his favorite cans of tobacco.

If you take a guided tour of the mill, your guide might tell you the story about the owner who stuck the stars from his tobacco cans onto a beam in the mill. You can still see them there today!

Our tour guide told us another interesting story, but to hear that one you’ll have to go take the tour for yourself! 😉 Just ask them to tell you about the flying goats.


I hope you enjoyed this read and learned a little about the purpose of milling equipment and the history of Bollinger Mill! I’m no expert neither of these things, but I learned a lot from the tour and found it very interesting! You really should go check it out!

If you have visited Bollinger Mill, comment below and tell me what your favorite part was! If you have questions about the mill, ask! I’ll answer to the best of my ability. Lastly, if I got anything wrong, leave a comment and correct me. I don’t want to share inaccurate information!

Happy exploring!

-Caroline 🙂


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