The old Ozark Mill moved 80 feet to the east of its former foundation. Work continues on the restoration of the town landmark that will one day house a multipurpose commercial development.
The mill has been in Ozark since the town was settled in the 1830s. It became known as Hoover’s Mill.
The Ozark Mill building weighs an estimated 464 tons. Bass Pro Shops purchased the building in 1993. It is now owned by an LLC named for the Ozark Mill. A mill was originally constructed on the site in 1833, but mill buildings have been destroyed by fire three separate times through the years.
Bass Pro Shops developers are working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the city of Ozark to make sure the building and its surrounding agricultural plots and orchards use the “best practices” to protect the environment.
A sign bearing the words “coming soon” advised guests of the Ozark Farmers Market that a building known as “The Workshop” will open in the near future. The Workshop will open as a coffee shop and maker-space.
“Makerspace” is a term used in architecture, often in the designs of school or library buildings, to describe public areas for creation. Makerspaces.com defines the word as “a collaborative work space inside a school, library or separate public/private facility for making, learning, exploring and sharing that uses high tech or no tech tools.”
Makerspaces can include modern equipment such as 3D printers or laser cutters, or lower-tech devices such as sewing machines, soldering tools or woodworking tools. They are designed to be places where guests can come to create something or explore their interests in learning new skills or hobbies.
Bass Pro Shops announced its plans for the Finley Farms development on Aug. 1, 2018. At a press conference in what was once the Wheeler Gardens building, Megan Morris shared the vision for the project. Morris is the daughter of Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris.
The development plan calls for a restaurant, a speakeasy-style bar, agricultural farm development, river access and nature trails and a multi-purpose building that can house educational classes and seminars.
The building that once housed Wheeler Gardens was previously a Missouri Department of Transportation garage, where work trucks were kept.
“The intent for this Wheeler building in the future is that we really re-imagine this space and turn it into a flexible maker’s space. We want to be able to host hands-on learning experiences here like workshops,” Megan Morris said in 2018. “It could be floral arranging, weaving, welding, cooking, all sorts of different learning experiences will be on the menu for this event space.”