Volume 8, Number 9 - Fall 1984

The Spring Creek Mill
First Business in Hurley
by Kathleen DeWitt

The Spring Creek Mill at Hurley, Missouri, is at present a tattered three story building badly needing repair. Its floppy, rusty tin roof gives the air of an era of days gone by.

The mill was the start of Hurley’s industry. In the early 1890’s two old bachelors, James Reynolds and Pryor Sanders, began building the mill. The two men counted on harnessing the Spring Creek for the power to run the mill. The mill ground wheat and the corn for the residents of the area. This mill literally put the bread on the table for the early residents of Hurley.

James Reynolds and Pryor Sanders quarreled after the mill was built, and the mill changed hands. At one time E. R. Scott was the mill’s owner. In 1908, the mill was sold to J. H. Whinery.1 Now the mill is owned by Wade Jackson.

Hurley had its own small lake caused by backed up water from the Spring Creek. Water pouring over the large wooden water wheel provided the power to turn the mechanisms within the mill to grind the wheat and corn into meal and flour.

Wagons hauled produce and mail to the Frisco railroads at Marionville, Missouri. On the return trips supplies for the mill and general store were brought back for Hurly residents.2

Otto Sims was one of many people who worked at the old mill when it was in operation. Otto started work at the mill about the last of September, 1937. At that time the Depression was being felt in the community, and the severe drought did not help the economy or the production of wheat or corn. People brought their wheat into the mill and exchanged it for flour. The exchange of wheat for flour was sixty pounds of test wheat for thirty-four pounds of flour. Circa 1943, 1944, and 1945 times got better and the demand for flour declined. The decline was caused by the better times and people bought bread and flour in the stores. This decline caused the demise of the Spring Greek Mill.3

The old mill just stands weathering the elements on Main Street today with a desolate look almost pleading to be used once more.

The Spring Creek Mill was the start of Hurley, Missouri, and in a sense still is the landmark of Hurley today. Unfortunately, in the years to come the story of the old mill will only be told to children of the area that ask what it is or related to those who see the pictures of years gone by. The mill served multiple purposes and is unfortunate that Hurley is fast losing it’s most predominate landmark to decay and neglect.

1 Stone County Newspapers, The Crane Chronical/Stone County News-Oracle, Souvenir Centennial Edition, (May, 19511: Pgs. 8-9.

2 Wade and Lille Jackson, Hurley, Missouri, (October, 1983)

3 Otto Sims, Hurley, Missouri, (October, 1983)


Jackson, Wade and Lillie. Hurley, Missouri. Interview, October, 1983.
Sims, Otto. Hurley, Missouri. Interview, October,. 1983.

Stone County Newspapers, The Crane Chronicle/Stone County News-Oracle, Souvenir Centennial Edition. May, 1951.

Editor’s Note: Kathleen’s entry was the 3rd place winner in the 1984 Historical Essay Contest. She was a student in Mrs. Connie T. Buell’s General Business Class at Hurley High School.


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