Coming Soon: Civil War Encampment

Motor Mill Civil War Encampment

On May 19 & 20 there will be a Civil War Encampment at Motor Mill Historical Site to kick off the 2012 tour season. Come on out and take a look at the Civil War Encampment and also enjoy a tour of the historic 1860′s mill, related buildings, and town site. Mill tours will be offered from Noon until 5pm.

News Flash: Final Bridge plans under review

Motor Mill Bridge
Final Plans for the Motor Mill Bridge are being reviewed!

April 5th: Bids sent out
April 19th: Pre-bidders meeting
May 5th: Bid opening
May 8th: Recommendation to the
County Conwervation
Board for hiring

Check out Tim Engelhardt, Clayton County Conservation Director’s, update on Conservation Magazine Audio Report

Motor Mill Foundation members are currently raising matching funds to replace the Motor Mill Bridge. The new bridge will look the same as the 1895 iron bridge, raised by 4 feet, and will be open to vehicle traffic.

Projected completion is the fall of 2012.

 View the plans!

Grants have been secured from:
FEMA $432,427, REAP $463,000,
UMGC $20,000 and
Iowa Great Places $33,000.
Total amount of grant
funds secured: $948,427.

An additional $500,000 in matching funds is still needed; your donation would help take us over the river!!
More information about the Capital Fund Campaign is available here.

Donations to the Motor Mill Foundation, a 501c3 organization or the Clayton County Conservation Board are 100% tax deductible.

Motor Mill Bridge & Building Restoration Project

Motor Mill Bridge ProjectDuring the flood event of 2008, the north span of the Motor Mill Bridge was destroyed. As a result, FEMA allowed funding to replace the north span of the bridge to the pre-disaster state of the bridge.

The work includes tuck pointing the north, center and south stone abutments and the north bridge span. Funding was included to raise the bridge by four feet, placing it above the high water mark.

The Conservation Board and the Motor Mill Foundation have started the process to raise additional funding to complete the south span and make the bridge open to cars, pickups and pedestrian traffic.

The preliminary design has been completed and is in the process of review. The current design is a pin connected Pratt through truss bridge using modern materials.

Estimated completion is summer 2012.

Fund Raising Campaign

The Motor Mill Foundation and the Clayton County Conservation Board have been working
together since 2002 and have opened the mill for educational tours during the summer. The
partnership has raised funds to complete the projects listed in this brochure.

In 2010, the partnership expanded to include the Turkey River Recreational Corridor, FEMA, Northeast Iowa RC&D, Iowa Great Places and the Iowa DOT to achieve the outlined projects.

Over $1 million of the estimated $1.5 million estimated budget has been secured or is pending for secured. $577,000 is needed in matching funds to complete these projects. Your help is vital. Please consider a gift.

Motor Mill Bridge ProjectDonations can be sent to:

Motor Mill Foundation
29862 Osborne Rd
Elkader IA 52043


Clayton County Conservation
29862 Osborne Rd
Elkader IA 52043

Donations to the Motor Mill Foundation, a 501c3 organization, or the Clayton County Conservation Board are 100% tax deductible.

Printable Information Brochure

Motor Mill: Stories in Stone

The limestone walls of Motor Mill have towered 90 feet above the river since 1869. The Mill, with four associated buildings, has witnessed the growth of the state of Iowa, challenges of Mother Nature and human nature, and the series of changes that shaped the agricultural economy. Native Americans also used the site for centuries before that.<br><br>Now, more than 140 years later, the nonprofit Motor Mill Foundation has launched a $500,000 drive to raise matching funds for $1.5 million in state, federal and private grants that they’ve received to help restore the buildings, rebuild the bridge, and to construct a multi-use trail along the Turkey River between Elkader and Motor Mill. Work is expected to begin on these projects in 2012.
history, natural beauty and serenity of the Motor Mill site and its surroundings, and to develop appropriate uses and interpretations as a regional treasure for the benefit of future generations.”

Since then, the Foundation has assisted the Conservation Board with several projects. Some include:
More than 9,100 volunteer hours of work;
Repairing roofs and chimneys on the Mill and the Inn;
Replacing floor joists and flooring in the Mill;
Replacing windows in the Mill and adding shutters on the first floor;
Repairing support beams for the millstone floor;
Managing the Robert Grau Memorial Savanna and prairie restorations; Revamping the campground and canoe ramp;
Improving the well and water system;
Leading tours at Motor from May through September;
Approving long-range development and educational plans for the site;
Developing a website;
Creating a Facebook page;

Work to date has cost more than $208,000, which came from private donors and state and federal grants.

Future plans call for repairing roofs on the Stable, Icehouse, and Cooperage, excavation of silt in the Mill basement, and flood protection for the Inn, Stable and Icehouse.

The Motor Mill Foundation has begun a fund drive to raise another $500,000 to complete those projects.

For updates, go to, or call the Clayton County Conservation Board, 563-245-1516.

Motor Mill Foundation Mission

To protect and preserve the architectural integrity, history, natural beauty and serenity of the Motor Mill site and its surroundings and to develop appropriate uses and interpretation as a regional treasure for the benefit of future generations.

Statewide Enhancement Grant is Awarded to Clayton County Conservation

The Clayton County Conservation Board recently received word we were awarded the Statewide Enhancement Grant for the trail connecting Pony Hollow Trail to Motor Mill. Additionally, the Conservation Board has hired an engineering firm to begin design work on the Motor Mill Bridge.Total estimated cost of the projects is $1.4 million, we have secured just over $1 million and will need to raise $350,000 in matching funds.  We are ¾ the way there.

2011 Schedule

The Motor Mill Foundation has been busy at Motor Mill over the past year.  The windows in the mill have been replaced, new flooring has been installed and the framework for the mill stone floor is nearly completed.
In addition, continued historical research on the mill and the many stories that surround the site are constantly being documented.
The Motor Mill will be open for tours two weekends a month May through September in 2011. The dates and times are on Saturday and Sundays from 12:00 Noon to 5:00 PM.
For May the dates are 14 and 15 and Memorial Day Weekend 28, 29 and 30th. Also on the weekend of May 21 and 22, the Civil War Living History Camp will be held at the mill. Most of the activities will occur on Saturday May 21.
The dates for the rest of the summer include June 11, 12, 25, 26 for July 9, 10, 23, 24 in August 6, 7, 20, 21 and September 3, 4, 5, 17 and 18th. For more information or to schedule a special group tour you may call the Osborne Center at 563-245-1516