PIERCE CITY, MO-- Phillips' File: "Jolly Mill near Pierce City is a southwest Missouri landmark located on Capps Creek. The old grist mill was built in 1848. A little village named Jollification grew around it and and gave it the name we know today. 1983, that's the year a group of interested citizens established the Jolly Mill Park Foundation, bought the mill, put it on the national register, and went to work restoring the building and setting up a public recreation park around it."
And they've covered a lot of ground since then. Jolly Mill park Foundation President Lee Price said, "They use it as a day park. They picnic - we obviously don't have overnight facilities. But picnic, and we have the walkway here that's a little over a mile by the time you make the whole loop."
It isn't cheap or easy to keep it all up while also preserving a 164 year old mill. But Price says the results are worth the time and effort. "This is very much a community place."
The Jolly Mill Park Foundation has done a lot to make that happen. In the last 20 years, projects have ranged from extensive work on the mill itself and a new bandstand... to restoring the milling capabilities and improving park infrastructure. "In the 2000s, the Shepherd Sawmill came into existence, that was funded by the Shepherd family who made a generous donation to build that. It's steam powered sawmill and has an area that and has a lot of their history and memorabilia."
A year ago, the foundation added an entry fee for visitors. At $5 a car load, they felt it was a small price to pay to help preserve the park. "We would hope that everyone would at least come out and take a look at us. I hope they'll see what I think is so special."