While traveling in Arkansas, one might want to head to War Eagle Mill, just minutes east of Rogers, Ark., on Arkansas Highway 12.
The mill’s history dates back to the early 1800s and is still a working mill with a lot of features for visitors of all sorts.
“Sylvanus and Catherine Blackburn built the first War Eagle Mill in the 1830s in response to a growing community need,” said Liz Kapsner, marketing director and sale coordinator for the mill. “When the War Eagle River swelled over the banks in 1848, the first mill washed away. Undaunted, the Blackburns rebuilt the mill and expanded it to produce grain and lumber.”
According to the history, when the Civil War broke out in 1861, it forced the Blackburn family to flee Arkansas and leave their mill behind. A year later in 1862, the Union Army moved into the War Eagle Valley and used the mill to feed their troops. When the Union soldiers heard that the Confederate Army was advancing into their area, they burned the mill, not wanting it to be a source of food for the other soldiers and moved west.
“After the war ended, Blackburn’s son James Austin Cameron Blackburn, moved back to the area and reconstructed the third War Eagle Mill increasing its lumber production,” she said. “This sawmill — reportedly the largest in Arkansas — was used to build much of Fayetteville, Ark. James eventually was elected to the Arkansas Senate and sold the mill to the Kilgore family. The Kilgore family continued the legacy of War Eagle Mill until it was destroyed, once again, in 1924.”
The mill, unable to be defeated, was rebuilt in 1973 by the Caywood family and War Eagle renewed its history of being a gathering place for history buffs and people seeking organic, natural gains. In 2004, Marty and Elise Roenigk purchased the mill with a vision to expand its menu of products, outreach and educate families on the benefits of eating well.
The three-story mill is nestled by the Ozark Mountains.
“The charming mill is a place where visitors can experience the water-wheel powered, traditional way of stone grinding organic and Non-GMO grain into flours,” she said, “also to learn the history of the mill's importance to the War Eagle Valley. Visitors can also enjoy shopping organic flour products and unique gifts in the mill store as well as fill up on our full menu in our Bean Palace Restaurant,” which is on the third floor of the mill.
There is no admittance fee.
There are also items for children to see.
“During an everyday visit to the mill, kids enjoy a tour and a close up view on how the mill turns corn into cornmeal,” said Kapsner. “Many enjoy browsing our kids section of toys and games in our gift store and filling up on tasty food from our kids menu in the Bean Palace Restaurant. Kids also enjoy walking over the bridge and swimming or fishing in the War Eagle Creek. Our special events are great for families. Kids enjoy face painting, crafts, Easter egg hunts, fishing, live music and special guests.”
The mill also hosts special events, one of which is a fall craft fair from Oct. 16-19.
“This annual event brings in more than 75,000 people to the area for great crafts and food,” she said. “On the War Eagle Mill grounds, professional craft men and women offer original, handmade work such as country decorative items, folk art, watercolor and oil painting, pottery, stoneware, wreaths, dried arrangements, miniatures, country clothing, wearable art, candles, homemade soaps, country furnishings, jewelry, bird houses and feeders, collectables and much more.”
War Eagle Mill hours are 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. every day of the week from March-Jan 1. They are closed the rest of January and open Friday-Sunday in February.
The mill’s website is www.wareaglemill.com, and telephone number is 1-866-492-7324.