This historic site contains the ruins of Federal Mill No. 3, which was once a large smelting plant used to refine lead as part of the extensive network of lead mining in this part of Missouri known as the “Lead Belt.” The site was donated to the state parks in 1975 by the St. Joseph Lead Company after it was decommissioned.
The site contains 18 buildings including the powerhouse, crusher, and machine shops in various stages of rust and decay. Visitors are able to explore a roped-off area that gives great views of the crusher and ore elevator, as well as many of the support buildings. Access to the exterior of the buildings is part of the Missouri State Parks.
The interior of the Power House has been converted into a small museum open to visitors for a nominal fee of $4. Visitors can view the interior of the powerhouse, along with much of the original equipment preserved inside such as the air compressors and bridge crane.
There is also an extensive collection of minerals on display with information about the geology of the area. In another room of the museum is a collection of historic equipment including the St Joe Shovel, which is a rare and innovative crawling loader designed specifically for the local mines.
Know Before You Go
Ideal for Atlas Obscura followers who love seeing ruins.