JOPLIN, Mo. —
Family genealogies are most appreciated by loved ones who are interested in local and national history, too. When a person can imagine ancestors living during specific eras of history, the people come alive.
One method of getting your family interested in history is to visit local sites. Although your family may not be excited about a local trip when the temperatures are as low as they are this time of year, there are some advantages. If you choose a sunny day, the drive will lift your spirits.
Other advantages are that there will be no ticks, chiggers or snakes, and you will be able to enjoy the land features without foliage getting in the way. When the weather improves, you can then easily take the rest of your family.
There are several interesting sites in southwest Missouri that can be seen in half a day.
One is Jolly Mill, a three-story mill located along Capps Creek southwest of Monett.
The old mill, which was built in 1848, has been restored by Friends of Jolly Mill, a privately supported group, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. At various times, the group arranges for grain to be ground during public gatherings.
The nearby mill pond and site are open to the public. While there, one can walk around the site and enjoy the scenery, as well as watch the trout that have been stocked in the mill pond and creek. A cemetery and a few buildings also remain as evidence of the once-thriving town of Jollification.
To find the site, drive along US Highway 60 east of Granby. A sign along the highway notes the road to take south. Follow that winding road for a few miles.
Another site is Hulston Mill, which was once located at the confluence of the Sac River and Turnback Creek. A town known as Hulston flourished around the mill, which was built to grind grain in 1840.
When the local lake was built, the mill was moved to its present location. The mill has been restored and is operated by the Dade County Historical Society.
Three pre-Civil War cabins have been donated by local families and are also at the site. From April to October, the society has grinding demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Saturday. The 50-acre site has campsites and 14 miles of trails.
To find the site, take Highway 160 to State Route EE, then go north 21Ú2 miles to County Road 92, then east one mile. Follow the signs after that.
One of my favorite places is the Powell Bridge, a steel truss bridge over Big Sugar Creek on Cowan Ridge Road, off of Highway E south of Stella. Thanks to the efforts of the Powell Bridge Preservation Society, the old bridge was saved and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The group plans to maintain it and make it a pedestrian bridge that everyone can enjoy.
Each time I go there, I walk to the middle, glance through the cracks between the old planks and remember the many wonderful times my parents, siblings, relatives, neighbors and I enjoyed the old swimming hole that was once beneath it.
Ignore the temperature. Pick a sunny day and enjoy local history!
Suggestions or queries? Send to Frankie Meyer, 509 N. Center St., Plainfield, IN 46168, or contact: frankiemeyer @yahoo.com.