ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Juniper Springs Millhouse, Florida
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Juniper Springs Millhouse, Florida
Historic Millhouse at Juniper Springs
The historic millhouse was built in 1935-1936 by the
C.C.C. The undershot waterwheel was used to
produce electricity for the recreation area.
Juniper Springs Millhouse
The millhouse is one of the
most unique structures built
by the C.C.C. during the years
of the Great Depression.
Green Energy in the 1930s
Juniper Springs was far from
the nearest electric lines, so
the millhouse was built to
produce electricity.
Juniper Springs Millhouse - Ocala National Forest, Florida
Green Energy at Juniper Springs
Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
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Undershot Waterwheel
Water from Juniper Springs
flowed under the waterwheel,
which powered a generator
inside the millhouse.
Juniper Springs
The millhouse provides a
unique background to the
clear blue waters of Juniper
Ocala National Forest

Big Scrub of Florida

Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway

Juniper Springs Recreation Area

Juniper Springs Run

Old Millhouse at Juniper Spring

Silver Glen Spring Recreation Area

Salt Spring Recreation Area

The Yearling - Trail & Filming Locations

Ocala National Forest
Historic Sites & Points of Interest
Perhaps the nation's most unique reminder
of the ingenuity of the men of the Civilian
Conservation Corps, the historic millhouse at
Juniper Springs is a favorite of history buffs
and photographers.

Located in the Ocala National Forest, Juniper
Springs Recreation Area is about 28 miles
east of I-75 at Ocala on State Road 40.

Places like Juniper Springs owe their
existence to the work projects devised by
President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The nation
was suffering through the darkest days of the
Great Depression when, in 1933, President
Roosevelt asked Congress to approve "a
civilian conservation corps to be used in
simple work, not interfering with normal
employment, and confining itself to forestry,
the prevention of soil erosion, flood control
and similar projects."

The organization became known by its
initials, CCC, and work camps were built
across the nation and CCC workers began
building a wide array of public facilities that
remain in use today. Many state parks and
national forest recreation areas were built by
CCC workers.

The work was hard and generally done by
hand, but the ingenuity and vision of the
program was realized like few ever attempted
in American history. Juniper Springs is an
outstanding example.

Built around a beautiful second magnitude
natural spring, the park features nature trails,
a swimming area, picnic facilities and a
campground, all originally built by CCC
workers.  The ingenuity of the program's
workers and leaders is really demonstrated,
however, by the remarkable millhouse they
built at the springs.

Juniper Springs was an ideal place for a
public recreation area, but there was one
problem. The site was located miles from the
nearest source of electricity and the cost of
running lines out through the national forest
to the new park was prohibitive. The millions
of gallons of water that rush from the springs
each day, however, soon sparked an idea for
a solution.

As work went forward on the recreation area
in 1935-1936, the CCC came up with a plan
to generate electricity while enhancing the
scenic beauty of the springs.

They built the structure known today as the
millhouse or old mill at the foot of the main
pool of Juniper Springs. Water flowing from
the springs was channeled into a narrow
sluice and then allowed to pour back out to
its natural configuration.

The rushing water that poured through the
sluice turned an undershot waterwheel (so
named because the water ran under instead
of over the wheel). That wheel, in turn,
powered a generator in the millhouse that
produced more than enough electricity to
meet the needs of the recreation area.

The concept worked like a charm. Not only
did the millhouse create electricity, but the
log and stone design of the structure added
a beautiful touch to the setting of the springs.
It because a much loved part of the site.
C.C.C. Exhibit in the Millhouse
Interpretive panels line the
interior walls of the millhouse,
detailing its unique history.
As interpretive panels at the old mill explain,
the power plant was a good example of a
1930s "green energy" project. It generated
electricity without destroying the scenic
beauty of the springs and without producing
pollution of any kind.

The Juniper Springs Millhouse no longer
generates electricity, but the structure has
been beautifully preserved. The stone wall at
the waterwheel end is a beautiful piece of
CCC masonry work.

The structure today houses an exhibit that
details the history of the CCC and its role in
developing Juniper Springs for public use.

Among the interesting statistics detailed in
the exhibit is a national summary of some of
the projects completed by the CCC during its
nine years of existence:

  • 3,470 fire towers.
  • 126,000 miles of roads and trails.
  • 89,000 miles of telephone lines.
  • 2,356,000,000 trees planted.

The Ocala National Forest and its recreation
areas are good examples of the work
achieved by the young men during that
difficult time in American history. It is the
oldest national forest area east of the
Mississippi River.

The Juniper Springs Recreation Area is
located on the Florida Black Bear Scenic
Byway (SR 40).
Please click here to learn
more about the springs.

After it passes the millhouse, the water from
the springs forms the Juniper Springs Run,
one of the top 25 canoe runs in America.
Please click here to learn more.

The entry fee to visit the park is $5 per
person. It opens daily at 8 a.m.