Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and State Historic Site

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Watkins Mill State Park and Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site
Missouri State Park
Watkins Mill, County Highway MM, Lawson vicinity (Clay County, Missouri) crop1.jpg
Watkins Mill
Country United States
State Missouri
County Clay
City Lawson
Elevation896 ft (273 m) [1]
Coordinates 39°24′04″N94°15′37″W / 39.40111°N 94.26028°W / 39.40111; -94.26028 Coordinates: 39°24′04″N94°15′37″W / 39.40111°N 94.26028°W / 39.40111; -94.26028   [1]
Area1,500.22 acres (607 ha) [2]
Established1964 [3]
Management Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Visitation520,728 (2017) [2]
USA Missouri location map.svg
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Location in Missouri
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Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and State Historic Site (the US)
Website: Watkins Mill State Park
Watkins Mill
Octagonal Scoolhouse Watkins Mill Lawson Missouri January 1975.JPG
The Octagonal Schoolhouse at Watkins Mill
Nearest city Excelsior Springs, Missouri
Area560 acres (230 ha)
Built1860 (1860)
ArchitectWaltus Watkins
NRHP reference # 66000416
Significant dates
Added to NRHPNovember 13, 1966 [4]
Designated NHLNovember 13, 1966 [5]
Designated NHLDSeptember 28, 1983 [6]

Watkins Mill, in Lawson, Missouri, is a preserved woolen mill dating to the mid-19th century. The mill is protected as Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site, which preserve its machinery and business records in addition to the building itself. It was designated a National Historic Landmark and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966 in recognition for its remarkable state of preservation. [4] The historic site is the centerpiece of Watkins Mill State Park, which is managed by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. [7]

Lawson, Missouri City in Missouri, United States

Lawson is a city in Clay, Clinton, and Ray counties in the U.S. state of Missouri. The population was 2,473 at the 2010 census.

National Historic Landmark formal designation assigned by the United States federal government to historic buildings and sites in the United States

A National Historic Landmark (NHL) is a building, district, object, site, or structure that is officially recognized by the United States government for its outstanding historical significance. Of over 90,000 places listed on the country's National Register of Historic Places, only some 2,500 are recognized as National Historic Landmarks.

National Register of Historic Places federal list of historic sites in the United States

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property.

Contents

History

Waltus L. Watkins established the 80-acre livestock farm he called Bethany Plantation in 1839. [8] Watkins Mill was built in 1859-1860. Watkins built housing for the mill workers nearby, creating one of the first planned communities in North America. The community was effectively self-sufficient, the mill producing yarn and wool cloth. The mill operated at capacity until 1886, two years after Watkins' death. From 1886 to the turn of the twentieth century production declined. Nearly all of the mill machinery has been preserved, including a 65-horsepower steam engine that powered the factory. [6]

The site also includes the Watkins house, dating to 1850. The twelve-room, 2½-story house includes three staircases, the main stair detailed in carved walnut. It remained a Watkins family home until 1945. [6]

The Franklin School, or Octagonal School, is an octagonal schoolhouse built in 1856 and used by the Watkins family and their employees until the mid-1870s, when it became a residence for mill workers. The unusual octagonal building was built of locally manufactured brick on Watkins land. [6]

The Watkins family also donated the land for Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, built in 1871 to replace a log church dating to the 1850s. Of the $5000 construction cost, more than half was donated by Watkins. [6]

After going through several changes in ownership, the state of Missouri took possession of the property, creating a 1,442-acre (584 ha) state park in 1964. [8] It was named a National Mechanical Engineering Historic Landmark in 1980. [9]

State park

The recreation area of the state park has 96 campsites, most of which have electric hookups, and many of which are available year-round. [10] A 100-acre (40 ha) lake supports fishing for bass, catfish, crappie and sunfish and has a large sand swimming beach. A 3.8-mile (6.1 km) asphalt bicycling and walking trail follows the shoreline of the lake, and there is a separate 3.5-mile (5.6 km) equestrian trail. [7]

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 "Watkins Mill State Park". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey.
  2. 1 2 "Watkins Mill State Park and Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site: Data Sheet" (PDF). Missouri Department of Natural Resources. November 2017. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  3. "State Park Land Acquisition Summary". Missouri State Parks. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  4. 1 2 "History". Watkins Mill Association. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  5. "Listing of National Historic Landmarks by State: Missouri" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 Lissandrello, Stephen (April 2, 1976). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Watkins Mill". National Park Service. Retrieved June 1, 2009. and accompanying photos.
  7. 1 2 "Watkins Mill State Park". Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  8. 1 2 "Watkins Mill State Park: Preamble for the Conceptual Development Plan". Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  9. "Historic Site History at Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site". Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
  10. "Camping at Watkins Mill State Park". Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved October 1, 2014.