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Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and State Historic Site




Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and State Historic Site
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General Information

Description - This information is provided by www.mostateparks.com

It took Waltus Watkins nearly half a century to build his home estate and small community. Included in the 3,600 acres was an elegant home, three-story woolen mill, fruit-drying shed, smokehouse, brick kiln, sawmill, gristmill and acres of well tended orchards and croplands. A brick schoolhouse and church are also in the vicinity.

Many of the original buildings have been restored, and livestock and plants re-introduced to create an 1870s farm. During summer months, the site's Living History Farm Program offers visitors the chance to watch an 1870s family live, work and play.

Tours are given of the Watkins home and Watkins Woolen Mill. The mill is a National Historic Landmark and is the only 19th century textile mill in the county with its original machinery still intact. The visitor center offers an introduction to the Watkins family and their many business ventures.

A bit of history can be combined with a day of outdoor fun. Williams Creek Lake offers opportunities for fishing and swimming. Encircling the lake is a 3.75-mile paved bicycle trail. Picnic sites and a picnic shelter offer a great place to rest or enjoy lunch. For overnight guests, the park offers nearly 100 wooded campsites.

Attractions - Watkins Mill Campground Information

Showerhouse improvments continue in the campground. Demolition of Showerhouse 2 (near campsite 49) began Sept. 6, 2005. Showerhouse 1 (near campsite 13) will temporarily serve the whole campground during construction of the new Showerhouse 2. Once completed, an additional showerhouse (near campsite 99) will also be available to campers beginning in October 2005.

5/23/05 -- Dam upgrade project continues (affects fishing, swimming, boat launch)

Watkins Mill has 96 campsites, 74 have electric hookups. Each site has a graveled parking pad, a picnic table, grill and lantern hook. Parking pads vary in length from 38 feet to 80 feet, with the electric sites having the longer pads.

Five sites, three electric and two basic, are accessible for campers with disabilities. Four of these campsites are reservable.

Two showerhouses, a coin-operated laundry and a sanitary dumping station are available for registered campers during the on-season. These facilities, along with the water, are not available during the off-season.

A woodlot is open in the evening during the on-season for campers to purchase wood. During the off-season, the fee collector will sell wood upon request.

Campsites 35-97 are closed November through March.

For reservations, there is a two-night minimum stay required on weekends from April through October and major holidays from May 15 through Sept. 15. Reservations can be made by clicking on the Campground Reservation System Information link above or by calling 1-877-422-6766 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. CST.

Park Gate Information The campground gate closes at 10 p.m. during the on-season. Campers need to be sure to arrive prior to gate closure time.

Special-Use Area A primitive camping area is available for organized youth groups. The area is divided into five sections, each with a picnic table and fire ring. The area has a vault toilet but no water. There is direct access to the bike trail. Groups interested in reserving a campsite in the special-use area should call (816) 580-3387 during office hours. The special-use area is located on the east side of the facility and is accessed from Endsley Road.

Picnicking There are three picnic areas, with tables and grills, and additional picnic tables and grills are located along the bike trail near the beach and the shelter house area. Picnic areas are available on a first-come first-served basis. The north picnic area connects directly to the bike trail.

Recreation - Fishing

Bass, catfish, crappie and sunfish are plentiful in Williams Creek Lake, which has a boat launching area with a courtesy boat dock. Boat motors used on the 100-acre lake are restricted to 10 horsepower or less. An accessible fishing dock is located near the western end of the dam. A permit must be obtained at the office for night fishing.

Swimming A large sand swimming beach is located at the north end of the lake near the picnic areas. The beach is open 10 a.m. to sunset, Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. A change house is located near the beach. See Rules and Regulations for more information.

Interpretive and Educational Programs Interpretive Programs

Guided tours are available of Watkins Woolen Mill and the Watkins family home. The mill is a National Historic Landmark and is the only 19th-century textile mill in the country with its original machinery intact. The visitor center offers an introduction to the Watkins family and their many business ventures.

During the summer months (May through August), the historic site’s Living History Farm Program offers visitors a glimpse into the life of a family in the 1870s. Costumed staff and volunteers give demonstrations on cooking, gardening and other period activities.

Natural history programs are offered throughout the summer months in the campground. April l6 through Oct. l5 Visitor Center, Museum Exhibits, Grounds (free admission): Monday-Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tours of Watkins Woolen Mill and the Watkins House: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fees for tours: Adults $2.50 Children ages 6 through 12 $1.50 Children under 6 free Family rate $12 Tours begin on the hour. House tours are given on the even hours (10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.) and mill tours are on the odd hours (11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.). A 5 p.m. mill tour is offered only on Sundays.

Visitors must be with a tour guide to enter the house or mill. Tours are limited to 15 people per group.

Pets are not allowed in the visitor center, on the grounds of the historic site or in the historic buildings. Oct. 16 through April l5 Visitor Center, Museum Exhibits, Grounds (free admission): Monday-Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tours of Watkins Woolen Mill and the Watkins House: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Fees for tours: Adults $2.50 Children ages 6 through 12 $1.50 Children under 6 free Family rate $12

October, November, March and April: Guided tours of the historic buildings are given daily.

December through February: Guided tours of the historic buildings are only given on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and holiday Mondays.

Tours begin on the hour. House tours are given on the even hours (10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.) and mill tours are on the odd hours (11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.).

Visitors must be with a tour guide to enter the house or mill. Tours are limited to 15 people per group because of space and floor load.

Pets are not allowed in the visitor center, on the grounds of the historic site or in the historic buildings. Educational Programs

The historic site offers a variety of education programs. Contact the office (816) 580-3387 for further information.

Tours

Tour fees are $.75 for students ages 6-12 and $1.50 for older students and adults. The tour fee includes both the mill and house. Tours must be scheduled for weekdays at least two weeks in advance.

Woolen Mill

* The one-hour guided tour includes the engine shed and the first, second and third floors of the mill. * The maximum group size is 64 persons, including adults, per day. * Contact the historic site at least two weeks in advance. * Mill tours are limited to fourth-graders and above. * At least one adult for every 15 students, please. * Tour fee: 75¢ for students ages 6-12; $1.50 for older students and adults.

Theme Grades fourth through sixth: Emphasis is on the types and uses of machinery; mill workers; working conditions; the role of the woolen mill in Missouri history.

Grades seventh through twelfth: Emphasis on types and uses of machinery; production of goods; mill workers; working conditions; industrialism in the United States during the 19th century; and the role of the woolen mill in Missouri history.

Watkins House

* The 45-minute guided tour includes the house and outbuildings. * The maximum group size is 64 persons, including adults, per day. * Contact the historic site at least two weeks in advance. * House tours are limited to first graders and above. * At least one adult for every 15 students, please.

Theme Grades first through sixth: Emphasis is on the furnishings and use of rooms; 19th century living conditions; the Watkins family; the farm, the orchard and livestock.

Grades seventh through twelfth: Emphasis is on the furnishing and use of rooms; 19th century living conditions; the Watkins family; food preservation; the farm, the orchard, and livestock.

Audio-Visual Programs

Video - Missouri Confronts Industrialism

* A 26- minute video; recommended for all age levels. * The video is available to view and/or purchase at the visitor center. * The video is also available for loan through Mid-Continent Public Library.

Slideshow

* A 50-minute slideshow tour of the woolen mill, with taped narration, is available for viewing at the visitor center.

Museum Activities

Museum Scavenger Hunt

* Developed to help students gain a better understanding of the museum exhibits. * Teachers should request a copy of the scavenger hunt prior to visiting the historic site. * Teachers are responsible for making their own copies. * There are two scavenger hunts available: one for grades 1-6, the other for grades 7-12.

Museum Hands-On Table

* Developed to help students learn through hand-on activities.

Franklin Academy School Program

* Groups may reserve the Franklin Academy school building on a day-to-day basis; please make your reservation at least two weeks in advance. * 1870s-era lesson plans are available on request from the historic site office. * Supplemental information to help you plan your visit to the school is also available. * Copies of McGuffey’s Readers and the Ray’s Arithmetic Series are available for use, but must be requested prior to your visit. * There is no charge to use the schoolhouse, provided all materials are returned and the building is left in good condition.

Other Programs

Off-Site Presentations

* The presentations can cover topics for past lectures or a program can be developed for your needs. Topics we have presented in the past are Missouri history, Watkins family letters, wool processing demonstrations, the woolen mill, 19th century rural life, 19th century clothing, heirloom vegetables, gardens and flowers, and an 1870s Christmas. * Availability depends on staffing and location. Call for further information.

Walk-About Program * This is a self-guided program that focuses on the grounds of the historic site. Entrance to the Woolen Mill and Watkins’ house is not included with this program. An informational brochure on the Watkins family, structures, farm, etc., can be obtained at the visitor center. * There is no charge for this activity; however, please call two weeks in advance to let staff know you are coming. * No more than 60 students per visit, with at least four adult monitors, please.

Reservations

The above offerings apply to public, private, parochial and home school groups only. These programs and activities are not available on weekends or holidays. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the office at (816) 580-3387.

Trails

Bicycling and Hiking The 3.8-mile asphalt bicycling and walking trail follows the shoreline of the lake. The circular trail can be accessed at several points along the west side of the lake, and from the northern picnic area. See Rules and Regulations for more information.

Dam upgrade project continues (affects portion of bicycling and hiking trail)

Equestrian Trail Located on the east side of the facility, the horse trail is approximately 3.5 miles long and may be accessed from Endsley or Baxter roads. Trailer parking is available at the trailhead near the special-use area on Endsley Road. Horses are restricted to the horse trail and may not be ridden in other areas of the facility. Bicycles are not permitted on the horse trail. See Rules and Regulations for more information.

Climate - Missouri experiences four distinct seasons with an average yearly temperature of 54 degrees F. Summer temperatures reach 90 degrees F often and are plagued with high humidity levels. Nighttime lows during the summer dip slightly near 70 degrees. September brings cooler fall weather with less humidity. By October nights begin to cool significantly and the fall foliage changes to brilliant hues of orange, red and yellow. Winter months bring an average of 24 inches of snow and normal temperatures average between 20 and 45 degrees F. Spring is characterized by wet weather with temperatures reaching between 32 and 60 degrees F.

Location - 26600 Park Road North Lawson, MO 64062


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More Information

Contact Information:
Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and State Historic Site, 26600 Park Road North , Lawson, Missouri, 64062, Phone: (816) 580-3387
, moparks@dnr.mo.gov

Additional Information:
Missouri State Parks -
Missouri's Historic Sites -

Links:
Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and State Historic Site - Official Site of Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and State Historic Site

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