Eighty-one million gallons of water bubble out of Alley Spring every day. Around 155 feet deep, with a recharge area of 15 miles, this spring boasts the largest credible measured flow of any Ozark spring. The abundant water and iconic mill keep a steady flow of tourists to this National Scenic Riverways landmark.
Native Americans across Delaware were the first to frequent Alley Spring, until the New Madrid earthquakes of 1812 stopped the flow. Gradually, the water returned and in 1848, the area was settled in 1893 present-day Alley Mill was constructed. The grist mill was originally unpainted. Its first paint job was white with green trim, followed by solid red. Alley spring was named after a local farmer, John Alley, who also opened the first post office in the Alley hamlet.
Overlogging led to the closure of the mill in 1918. In 1925, the site was turned into a state park, and eventually, Missouri turned the land over to federal ownership. Today, you can visit the mill, spring, trails, and campground where the old Alley hamlet once thrived.
Know Before You Go
The mill also functions as a store and museum. It's open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Located six miles west of Eminence, Missouri, on State Highway 106. The site is free, and donations are welcome.