Rockbridge Mill by Tim Layton
Rockbridge Mill 07-02-2021 by Tim Layton Nestled in the Ozark Mountains lies the small village of Rockbridge, just 80 miles southeast of Springfield, Missouri.
Rockbridge lies deep in the Ozark Mountains and the stream is stock-full of Rainbow trout luring fisherman from around the country.
Long ago, the village was the bustling hub of Ozark County, where people from miles around brought their grain to be milled, did their banking, shopped the general store and went to church.
Rockbridge was founded in 1841 by migrants from Kentucky. The first mill was built in 1868 when B.V. Morris, an Ozarks pioneer, built a dam and a mill on Spring Creek and later enlarged the mill two years later. The first mill is a little further upstream from the current mill.
Rockbridge Mill 07-02-2021 by Tim Layton The milling business was good enough in those days that Morris soon found it necessary to enlarge the mill and built a two-story general store in 1894. The general store has been remodeled into a restaurant, but ultimately burned down in 1986.
For 32 years, the Amyxes, along with their son, Ray, worked hard remodeling the old general store into a restaurant and resort lodge. The extensive refurbishing and expansion included the county’s best commercial kitchen, a dining area, a gift shop and a lodge. The stream that once powered the grist mill was stocked with rainbow trout grown in the ranch’s own hatchery, attracting more and more fishermen, making the resort one of the most popular in the Ozarks.
Tragedy struck, however, on Friday, Jan. 24, 1986, when flames consumed the Ozark County historical landmark, destroying the old Rockbridge General Store, which had been remodeled to house the restaurant and reception area.
Rockbridge Mill 07-02-2021 by Tim Layton With the spring opening of the resort barely a month away, the Amyx family found they were seriously hampered by the loss of their reservation book, in addition to their dining room and restaurant facilities. Also, lost in the fire was an extensive collection of antiques, memorabilia and art, including an original Audubon painting. The fire was not enough to destroy the Amyx family dream though.
The Amyx family’s special attention to detail and dedication to customer satisfaction has been bringing customers back year after year to enjoy the quiet solitude at the resort.
The restaurant was rebuilt again and expanded in 2001 to what we see today.
The mill closed in 1933 when the patterns of traffic changed in the region, but was rescued from inglorious deterioration by the Amyx family.
Lile and Edith purchased the town site in 1954 and launched Rainbow Trout Ranch, one of the Ozarks’ most successful resorts and the mill started a new life.
ROCKBRIDGE MILL BEHIND THE SCENES PHOTOS
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