Family … easily the best part of vacation! My sister, Sue, and niece, Michelle, flew from southern California to DFW and we were off on our ‘girls road trip’. Next stop … dad’s house in Arkansas. (Well, next stop AFTER a totally necessary stop at The Amish Store in Atoka, Oklahoma.)
Visiting with family for several days was fabulous. We laughed. We cried. And talked, and talked, and talked.
And, of course, we went sight-seeing. (read as, LOTS of delapidated barn pictures!) We hiked at Devil’s Den National Park. We visited dad’s 3.2 acre retreat and hiked (and communed with nature) there. We admired the creative, wonderful art at my favorite spot on earth – Terra Studios.
But my sister’s favorite spot … WAR EAGLE MILL. Naturally we had to visit there too. War Eagle Mill, in Rogers Arkansas, has actually been built several times.
In 1832, Sylvanus Blackburn homesteaded 160 acres along the War Eagle River in northwest Arkansas. The following spring, he returned to Hickman County, Tenessee, to bring his young bride, Catherine, back to his acreage. Soon their two story log home was complete and they began their family, raising 5 boys and 3 girls.
By 1838, a grist mill, blacksmith shop, carpentry shop and saw mill had been built. In 1848 a flood washed away the mill and the dam. Sylvanus rebuilt the mill. It was burned two days before the battle of Pea Ridge (March 6-8, 1862), to keep the mill from falling into Yankee hands. Sylvanus’ son, James, rebuilt the mill in 1873. The mill operated for many years and in 1924, burnt a second time. Many years passed. In 1973, Jewell and Leta Medlin, and their daughter Zoe Leta Caywood, rebuilt the fourth War Eagle Mill. The grist mill remains in operation today and is also the site of two HUGE annual craft shows in spring and fall.
The mill has two floors full of tempting goodies, treats and artistic creations. The top floor contains a homey eatery. My niece and I had a tasty breakfast. With her breakfast, Michelle had the biscuits and country gravy. I was excited to have biscuits and apple butter. My dad and sister, well, they fell for the temptation of the blackberry cobbler.
If you’re heading through the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas, make sure to plan for an hour or two at War Eagle Mill.