Arnhold’s Mill was a commercial mill site certainly, but also an early fishing camp/resort on the Niangua River in Camden County not far from Ha Ha Tonka’s springs. In 1896, J. W. (Joshua Williams) Vincent, editor of the Linn Creek Reveille, published a history of Camden County he had compiled by interviewing early settlers. In it he stated: “The Arnhold Mill, probably the most noted in the county, was founded in 1833 by a man named Kieth.” George and Dorotha Arnhold bought what by then was called Cleman Mill in 1878. Its scenic location, abundant game, good fishing and congenial owners attracted sportsmen from across the state. Eventually, cabins were built on the nearby hills to accommodate visitors who showed up in season. It was a family-friendly resort as evidenced by the women and child in this photo.
The camping families in this photograph are not identified, but on newspapers.com we found several accounts of visits to Arnhold’s Mill. One story in the May 27, 1915, Index of Hermitage, Mo. could be the caption for this photo:
A party consisting of Dr. A. H. Brookshire and wife, W. D. Harryman and wife, J. W. Powell and Henry Emmett of Wheatland, W. C. Farmer of Collins, J. H. Morgan and family, J. K. Moore and family, J. W. Robertson, Chas. Manuel, C. M. Bentley, S. S. Anderson and Ray Creed of Hermitage, left here Monday for Arnholt’s mill, Camden County, where they will spend a week fishing, hunting, camping out, and having a good time generally.
A couple of other stories came to light as well. The Index, Hermitage, Mo, May 6, 1897, remarked on the weekend fishing trip of Squire E. R. Calkins to Arnhold’s mill where he gained some weight. “He claims fish is the greatest brain food a man can eat.” The Morgan County Republican (July 18, 1907) noted that Perry L. Gold and Joe Gold of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Loyd and Clarence Lumpe and Charles Moser of Versailles, Mo., spent a week at the mill returning with a 31-pound catfish.
See our earlier post for more about the tribute sportsmen erected for the Arnholds. The site of Arnhold’s Mill is now under the waters of Lake of the Ozarks.
Little record remains of early sporting activities on the Osage River, but that doesn’t mean the area wasn’t utilized. These real photo postcards provide scarce evidence of those days. No identification on the card of the photographer or where it was published.