Greer Spring is located in the Ozark Plateau region of the state of Missouri. Also found in Oregon County, Greer Spring is a first magnitude spring that lies within the Mark Twain National Forest. Greer Spring is known as the second-largest spring in the Ozark Mountains, a physiographic region located in the states of Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas. In 1980, Greer Spring was first recognized as a National Natural Landmark.
History of Greer Spring
The history of Greer Spring first dates back to the year 1859 when Confederate Captain Samuel Greer, for who the spring is named after, constructed a gristmill on the spring branch. A gristmill is a mill that grinds grain into flour. However, later on, during the American Civil War. Greer’s gristmill was destroyed. Thankfully, it was rebuilt, and a new roll mill was constructed around the year 1899. As opposed to a gristmill, a roller mill uses cylindrical rollers to crush or grind various materials.
The mill increased in usage over the years until the year 1922, when it was officially shut down after being switched between owners. Today, very few remains of the roller mill exist on Greer Spring. However, in 2016, plans were made by the U.S. Forest Service to restore the mill.
Greer Spring sits at an elevation of 564 feet in the Ozark Plateau. The mouth of the spring is at Eleven Point River. Greer Spring is 1.4 miles long and has an average discharge speech of 360 cu ft/s. At its highest, Greer Spring has a discharge speed of 1,770 cu ft/s.
Access to Greer Spring is open via a trail maintained and operated by the United States National Forest Service. The beginning of the course is located 18 miles south of Winona and 8 miles north of Alton. There is a parking lot available for tourists on the side of Highway 19 in Missouri, next to the train entrance. The hike to the spring from the start of the trail is about a mile long.
Although it is the second-largest spring in the Ozark Plateau, Greer Spring is also one of the most secluded and undisturbed springs. Before 1993, after closing for operation in 1922, Greer Spring was maintained and operated by private ownership. However, in 1933, it went under the control of the U.S. National Forest Service. The U.S. National Forest Control has aimed at keeping Greer Spring as untouched and natural as possible, making it a treasurer to the Ozarks.
There are many other springs located in the Ozark Plateau and the Ozark Mountains. The only other spring larger than the Greer Spring in the Ozarks is the Big Spring, located in Carter County, Missouri. Among the other springs are the Mammoth Spring, Bennett Spring, Double Spring, Blue Spring, Alley Spring, Welch Spring, Boiling Spring, North Folk Spring, Blue Spring, Montauk Spring, Blue Spring, Round Spring, Pulltight Spring, Roaring River Spring, and Cave Spring.