Being born and raised in beautiful Shannon County, I sometimes catch myself taking for granted how many amazing landmarks and so-called natural areas there are in my backyard that attract thousands of people a year.
Throughout those years I have attended picnics, school functions, weddings, company picnics, Halloween events, and hundreds of visits with my family and friends just to swim in the Jacks Fork River, which always had to include a visit of the Alley Spring Mill to complete the day.
Needless to say, I have made many memories of Alley Spring throughout my lifetime, which is why when I heard the news that Alley Spring was going to be featured on a United States quarter and a presentation was scheduled, I knew that I had to attend this historic event.
The Alley Spring Mill is a historic grain mill located six miles west of Eminence. The present mill was constructed in 1893-1894 by George Washington McCaskill as a merchant mill. It was one of the largest mills in the Jacks Fork River area and replaced an earlier mill on the same site where the current mill now sits.
Since there was a constant water supply at Alley Spring, this seemed to be the ideal location for the historic mill. Originally unpainted, it was first painted white with green trim, then later painted the famous red color associated with Alley Mill today.
The original mill was used for converting wheat or corn into flour. Local farmers would bring their grain to the miller who would either buy it or trade it for a percentage to grind it for the farmer.
At times the Alley Spring Mill area had a well-stocked general store, a blacksmith shop, and even a nearby post office.
With such a rich history, as well as being one of the most photographed places in the United States, it is a no-brainer that Alley was chosen as a part of the U.S. Mint’s “America the Beautiful” quarters program.