Klepzig Mill

George Walter Klepzig was the son of Charles Klepzig who had owned an early mill at Alley Spring in Shannon County, Missouri before selling out to George McCaskill.

The young Klepzig then purchased the Rocky Creek property from Joshua Sholar. Interestingly, Sholar had previously shared a partnership of the Rocky Creek farm with McCaskill. Any mill that had been operated by the pair had likely suffered damage in the “Winona Flood” of 1895. Extreme flooding occurred in the Ozarks during that storm and Winona was noted to have had lost over a dozen lives and suffered extensive damage to buildings and railroad lines.

The Rocky Creek location provided a natural mill seat, with a narrow section of the creek providing some narrow gorges called “shut-ins”. This made damming easier. However, the same shut-ins help aggravate the flood waters.

Mr. Sholar was also editor of the Current Wave paper in Shannon County, and was a strong advocate of the New Ozarks South business order. This progressive view of farming, timber trade and business was spurred on by the railroad lines. Klepzig was probably the perfect fit for following in Sholar’s footsteps at Rocky Creek.

Klepzig repaired the mill race and reconstructed a simple mill shed over the milling stones. But by 1928, Klepzig’s progressive thinking pushed him to install a turbine well to replace the overshot wheel being used. The old building was reused and was moved to cover the turbine operation. That building is the one still standing at the site. Klepzig was noted of being generous in his help of grinding and cutting lumber for those who otherwise could not have afforded the normal fees. He was also noted as being progressively minded in being the first in the area to use barbed and woven wire fencing and introducing more refined breeds to his dairy herd. He also shipped his cream to Beatrice, Nebraska for processing to gain better pricing. The family was also noted as having the first radio in that neck of the woods.

Time progressed and Klepzig sold the farm and mill to A.C. Brandt in 1935, and he would own the property until it became part of the Ozarks National Scenic Riverways in 1974.
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