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Historic Florence Mill reopening in Omaha

Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 1:43 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - COVID-19 shut down a Florence-area landmark last year. Now, the owner of the Florence Mill plans to have a grand reopening to celebrate the “return to normalcy” and the history of the mill.

Linda Meigs bought the mill in 1998. It had been shut down for years, and there was talk about tearing it down and replacing it with a convenience store. Meigs said the mill is her gift to Omaha.

“I thought, ‘How sad that we tear our history down,’ and then we got to Europe for history, as if we have none,‘ “she said. “I bought a piece of real estate, and fell in love with its history.”

Mormon pioneers, led by Brigham Young, built the mill in 1846, during their temporary stay at their winter quarters in the Florence area as they passed through on their way to Salt Lake City. They abandoned it in 1848, Meigs said.

To save the mill, Meigs had a lot of work to do. The mill was in rough condition when she bought the building.

“We shuffled through 14,000 pounds of fermented grain dirt, dead animals, and pigeon poop,” she said. “It was a mess.”

For almost 25 years, the mill has been Meigs’ project. She’s made improvements with her money and grant funds. She said she doesn’t charge admission.

“It was priceless as far as history,” she said. ”It’s the only building in the state that bridges the historical eras of the overland pioneer trials and territorial settlement.”

The mill is registered in the National Registry of Historic Places. For Meigs, keeping the history of the mill alive has been a labor of love.

“It’s turned into kind of my legacy. .. Some people don’t even know my name. I’m just the mill lady.”

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