OZARK, Mo. — It’s round two of a restoration project for a piece of Ozark history.
The process of placing the nearly two centuries old Ozark Mill back on it’s original foundation.
On Wednesday, crews began to slide the structure over several feet.
This extensive project is spearheaded by conservationist, Ozarks’ native and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris — who purchased the mill about 26 years ago, with plans to create “Finley Farms” — a riverfront dining and recreation destination.
Connie Dodge and her son Philip, were among dozens of onlookers who stood by as the 400 ton mill was prepped for the move back to the spot where it originated, about 200 years ago.
“History in the making. We want to watch them move the mill back in place,” said Dodge, “We watched them move it out and we wanted to watch them move it back.”
Dodge, who home school’s Philip, said this project covers his history lesson — and several other subjects.
“Engineering, Physics, Science.”
The structure was taken from it’s original location, about 50 yards away last March, in order to rebuild it’s foundation.
“The amount of work — hand work –that it takes to get a job like this done..is exhausting,” said V.P. of “Expert House Movers,” Gabe Matyiko.
He says most people don’t appreciate all of the work that goes into a job of this size.
“All those blocks, most of them are oak blocks. They weigh about 60 to 70 pounds a piece. There may be a couple of thousand in that hole and they’re all getting moved by hand.”
Making the job even more of a challenge was the fact that the original foundation was lower than the new foundation, by two to three feet.
“So, when they poured the new foundation, we had to lift it up 3 feet to accomodate for that extra height,” Matyiko said, “We laid out this track system that you see right here… Put some rollers, heavy haul skates underneath the mill and we set it down — and now it’s ready to make the first push over top the new foundation.”
This entire project requires about 1600 hours of labor — and it’s going to be another couple of weeks or so before the mill is completely back in place.
The hope is to have the first part of “Finley Farms” finished and opened to the public later this year.