For a good place to fish and camp, John Barlow, Lamar, said, “Caplinger Mills is the place to go.”

For a good place to fish and camp, John Barlow, Lamar, said, “Caplinger Mills is the place to go.”

Barlow has been fishing near the historic Caplinger Mills bridge for more than 20 years and has caught walleye, crappie, bluegill, catfish and a variety of rough fish including carp, buffalo and even gar.

Although the community has changed over the past decade, the popularity of Caplinger Mills is as strong as ever thanks to its beauty and history, which remains visible in the iron bridge and mill foundation.

While the orgin of Caplinger Mills remains somewhat unclear, it has been documented that John Williams and family decided to move their milling operation from the Cedar Creek valley to the present site at Caplinger Mills in the early 1840s. Before completion, the mill was purchased by a group of men, the Caplingers, in 1842.

In 1893, the Whinrey family bought the mill, which by then included a dam constructed in 1868. A bridge was added to the site in 1895.

By 1917, the Whinreys had improved the dam, installed a dynamo that was providing electric power.

A fatal fire in 1953 destroyed the mill and brought an end to the electric service. The property was sold for $1 to the city of Stockton and was later aquired by the Missouri Department of Conservation. In 1989 the property was procured by the Caplinger Mills Bridge Preservation Society, which sussessfully had the site listed on the national Register of Historic places in 1993.

Today visitors enjoy the beauty of the area with a riverside park, and several campgrounds located near the Sac River.

The foundation of the mill, the dam and power station are reminders of a bygone era. Foot traffic is allowed across the bridge where fishermen gather to pull up fish from the river below. In addition to the scenic and historic beauty, the area is also known for the fishing, canoeing and camping.

Jim Sparks, Blue Springs, recently took a float trip starting at Caplinger Mills and said “It is a very good float and much different than some of the Ozark streams. It’s not as fast flowing, but it gives a floater time to enjoy the scenery and offers some good fishing. We caught crappie and white bass on our float and had a great time. It was our first time on the Sac River. I didn’t know how good the spring fishing and canoeing would be, but we will be back this summer.”

The Caplinger Mills site offers a peaceful setting for a family picnic, camping, canoeing or fishing.