We begin our tour of Marble Hill with the location that arguably brought the town to life. The Bollinger Mill sits just on the outskirts of the city and is older than Marble Hill itself, having stood for over 200 years. George F. Bollinger began construction on the mill in 1800 after leading a group of families to settle the area. By the 1820s, the grain mill had become a major center of industry for the region, and in 1825, the mill and its dam were reconstructed out of stone, replacing the original log construction.
The building, unfortunately, saw many changes over the years. During the chaotic Civil War, Missouri was a hotbed of activity. The state suffered many clashes between not only Union and Confederate troops, but also bushwhackers and jayhawkers. Many skirmishes ended with death and destruction of nearby towns and houses. Marble Hill did not make it out untouched, either. In the height of the Civil War, Union troops saw Bollinger Mill and decided to burn it to the ground to prevent Confederate troops from utilizing it. Luckily, the stone foundation made it out alive.
In 1867, Solomon R. Burford rebuilt the mill upon the surviving foundation, who added the covered bridge that better connected the site with the town. Having a covered bridge and a mill side-by-side was uncommon for Missouri. The new Bollinger Mill had four stories and the source of power was changed from the outdated water wheel to the modern water-driven turbine system. This version of the building, made out of brick, is the one that still stands.
The mill continued to operate until 1953, when the business closed. It was eight years later that the site was donated to the Cape Girardeau County Historical Society, and then the state, for the purpose of historical preservation. Bollinger Mill showcases a large amount of grain mill supplies and machines, with multiple models spanning the timeline of its use. On the grounds behind the mill lies the Bollinger family's gravesites, including the final resting place of George F. Bollinger.