First phase of development to help link the mill with historic downtown square
Concept rendering for The Post, a new ice cream and coffee shop that pays homage to the past across the historic Ozark Mill on the Finley River
OZARK, Mo. – As restoration efforts continue on the historic Ozark Mill, a new component of Johnny Morris’ vision to pay homage to the past while enhancing the overall site is being unveiled. The Post, a new ice cream and coffee shop inspired by the area’s rich history will open across the Finley River from the mill next year.
In keeping with the intent to honor the mill’s remarkable heritage and celebrate the region’s unique history and culture, The Post pays tribute to the small post office that occupied space within the original 1800s-era mill, which was located along a delivery corridor called the Ozark Trace Route. Housing a post office with weekly mail delivery was one of the many ways mills served as significant gathering centers for community members.
Mills were key components of communities throughout the Ozarks in the 1800s. Harnessing waterpower from the region’s abundant rivers, the mills played a critical role in every small town prior to the arrival of electricity. Often the lifeblood of the community, mills often doubled as gathering centers for community members to converse and share news of the day.
Located on the corner of Jackson and Third Street and influenced by historical buildings of the Ozarks, the new shop is intended to serve as a connection point to help link the Ozark Mill site with the nearby historic square in downtown Ozark. The charming 1,300-square foot-building will offer indoor seating, a small covered porch with rocking chairs, a drive-thru window, onsite parking and shaded outdoor seating overlooking the Finley River.
“We’re excited to offer a place for friends and families to gather together for a cup of coffee or ice cream cone by the Finley River, one of the many beautiful waterways that makes our region so special,” said Johnny’s daughter Megan Morris, who has been actively involved with the restoration project.
The concept was developed in response to community input following a survey issued by the Historic River District, a community-led not-for-profit recently established to guide revitalization work in the Downtown Ozark area. Coffee and ice cream were among two of the most popular requested items by the community.
The announcement comes as restoration efforts continue at Ozark Mill, an area landmark currently in the midst of extensive preventative maintenance to restore its foundation and prevent further flood damage. As part of the restoration, the entire structure has been lifted and temporarily moved to allow crews the ability to completely rebuild its foundation. Crews expect to return the Mill to its original footprint later this year at which point interior restoration will begin.
The Post is anticipated to open within the first half of 2019 and serve as the first phase of the Ozark Mill site development. While plans are still being finalized, the vision calls for a variety of visitor amenities including historical tours, dining, event space and enhanced riverfront access to help connect more people to the Finley River. Additional details will be announced in the coming months.
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