A preservation project, the Winter Quarters Mill Museum and ArtLoft Gallery.
Located 9102 N. 30th Street.
( Street View)
Address: Latitude: 41o20'39"N (41.3441667), Longitude: 095o57'30"W (-95.9583333)
Open 12 to 5 P.M. Wednesday through Sunday from May 1st through September 1st. Tours are also available by appointment at other times by calling 402-551-1233
The mill building is next to the 30th street exit from Interstate-680 and the Mormon bridge that spans the Missouri River. Travelers along I-680 crossing the Mormon Bridge saw it as the "pink building" in the 1970s. This mill is the oldest mill in the state, being built while the land still was considered "Indian Country." The mill has now been turned into a museum and art gallery* by a local artist.* The museum contains historic photos, newspaper clippings, and objects from the pioneer era of Florence.
History of the Florence Mill:
The Florence Mill originated as the 1846 Winter Quarters gristmill, which was built under the supervision of Brigham Young. After the Mormons abandoned Winter Quarters in 1848, the mill was rebuilt by a Gold-Rusher who never made it to California. The Florence Mill provided agricultural support for the new town of Florence in Nebraska Territory. It is listed as the Weber Mill on the National Register of Historic Places, in honor of the Weber family's 104 years as millers of Florence. Renovation of the formerly dilapidated building is still ongoing. No longer pink, the Florence Mill remains today because it evolved to fit the times and changing agricultural needs of farmers from the Civil War to the Cold War. The Florence Mill contains the only structural remains from Winter Quarters. Though remodeled, moved and added to, the Florence Mill contains some of the original hand-hewn beams and wooden pegs cut for the 1846 gristmill. The grain elevator, which was added in 1915, continues to use the rope man-lift to reach the upper bins.
Upcoming events at the Mill:
May 17th, 2008: Florence Days Open House ...celebrating Ten Years since the mill's rebirth.
July 12, 2008: Westside High School Class of '68: Forty-Year-Reunion.
Oct 4-5, 2008 North Hills Pottery Tour...hosting several ceramic-artists.
During Florence Days, the mill is a beehive of activity for tours, art exhibits, and story telling. If you have children, bring them to the special Chataquas (storytelling) sessions during Florence Days. The children get to be involved in most cases, and this alone makes them remember these significant historic events.
2007 exhibit in the the ArtLoft Gallery (Connor Meigs Memorial Gallery)
May 2007: Paintings by Nick Shindell. Shindell is a 2006 graduate of the Chicago Art Institute and currently lives in Phoenix AZ. He is the first recipient of the Connor Meigs Award. This award, given in memory of the late Connor Meigs, helps to launch the art career of a deserving young artist with a solo show, professional help and educational opportunities.
On May 6, 2007, a reception for the artist will be held from 1:30 P.M. - 4:30 P.M.
October 2007: North Hills Pottery Tour
2006 exhibit in the the ArtLoft Gallery (Connor Meigs Memorial Gallery)
From June 1st, 2006 through August 31st, 2006, the gallery will display work from Linda Meig's son Connor Meigs: Retrospective Dialogue. This is an encore presentation of Connor Meig's work displayed last year. The work is gaining popularity so much that in October 2006, the exhibit will travel from the mill to Beatrice, Nebraska to be displayed in the Beatrice Public Library Norva Price Meeting Room.
On October 7 & 8, 2006 "The Mill" will host two artist/potters for the North Omaha Pottery Tour. The hours are from 10-5.
2005 exhibit in the the ArtLoft Gallery (Connor Meigs Memorial Gallery)
From June 1st, 2005 through August 31st, 2005, the gallery displayed work from Linda Meig's son Connor Meigs, who tragically lost his life on December 24th, 2004. Linda Meigs has said, "Connor was blessed with much more artistic talent than I have...and in his short life he produced much quality work...painting, sculptures, drawings, editorial cartoons ...so it is the least I can do to honor him and his work to put on this exhibit at the mill. How lucky I am to be able to do this. His art will be up June 1 through August 31, 2005. The gallery on the 2nd floor of the mill will be dedicated as the Connor Meigs Memorial Gallery."
2004 exhibit in the the ArtLoft Gallery
Art by "George Simons, Territorial Artist" (during month of August 2004)
The art exhibit was written as a story, and illustrated by George Simon's artwork. George Simons arrived in Kanesville (Council Bluffs), Iowa in 1853, and was the cook for General Grenville Dodge. He documented what he saw by sketching. He witnessed the pioneers passing through, those that stayed, and what they built. He sketched it all. His artwork contains rare images of our past, such as William Brown's Ferry that crossed the Missouri River from Kanesville to the new territory on the west banks. This is a rare opportunity to see the art collection. Don't miss it.
The ArtLoft Gallery (Connor Meigs Memorial Gallery) has housed exhibits such as "The Farm" - A black and white photo collection by Linda Meigs, and a display of school children's art during River City Roundup. The gallery is closed September 1st for the season but will re-open during Florence Days (third weekend in May), and be open for the summer through August 31st of each year. Expect more great shows in the future.
You can get your "Passport" at the Florence Mill. The Passport is a special pass that allows you to get $1 off admission to several area historic attractions from Fort Omaha to Fort Calhoun. See the Passport page for more details and additional locations where you can get the pass.
2010 exhibit in the the ArtLoft Gallery (Connor Meigs Memorial Gallery)
- "Omaha Plein Air Painters" (Joy Bradley, Jan Cline-Zimmerman, Debra Groesser, Melissa Johnson, Kathleen Keller, John Meng-Frecker & Greg Walter).
- Artists Reception: Saturday, June 5 from 1-4 P.M.
- "The Farm" - Black and White Photography by Linda Meigs.
2009 exhibit in the the ArtLoft Gallery (Connor Meigs Memorial Gallery)
- "Full Plate" an exhibit of functional and dysfunctional art-plates by the NWCA (Nebraska Womens Caucus for the Arts). Opening reception is Sunday, May 3 from 1:30 to 4:30
Attached is an image of my plate titled "Seen & Unseen". Platle by Linda Hatfield is called "My grandma Had Blue Hair Too"
- "Myth & Mundane" Paintings by Stephanie Olesh, recipient of the 2009 Connor Meigs Art Award. Stephanie is a 2008 granduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. She is local talent, as she graduated from Central High School in 2004 (a year after Connor graduated from Central. Stephanie is unique as the only award recipient to know Connor)
- "The Farm" - Black and White Photography by Linda Meigs.
2008 exhibit in the the ArtLoft Gallery (Connor Meigs Memorial Gallery)
- June & July: "Many Waters"...New works by Linda Meigs
- June 8: Opening Reception, 1:30-4:30 P.M.
- August & September: Sariah Ha, 2008 Recipient of the Connor Meigs Award *
- On display through October 5, 2008 at the Florence Mill ArtLoft is "Configurations": Paintings by Sariah Ha, from Diamond Bar California. Sariah is a recent graduate of California State University at Fullerton. This is her first solo exhibit. She was selected from a pool of national applications as the 2008 recipient of the Connor Meigs Award, given in memory of my late son. The opening reception for the artist was Sunday, August 3. Sariah's work is figurative and loosely drawn in the tradition of Egon Schiele, but with an Asian flair.
- August 3 Opening Reception, 1:30-4:30 P.M.
* The Connor Meigs Award
The Connor Meigs Award includes an honorarium, professional mentoring, solo exhibit, invitations/mailings, reception for the artist and studio-tours. It is given to a talented BFA graduate just beginning their art career. Connor was the son of Linda and John Meigs. He was promised an exhibit in the Florence Mill's ArtLoft when he graduated from KU. Instead, the exhibit of his paintings, drawings, sculptures and editorial cartoons was a retrospective. Connor passed away on December 24, 2004 from injuries sustained in a car accident. Through this award, the mentoring and exhibit promised to him is given to others...in his memory.
Recipients of the Connor Meigs Award:
- 2007 Nick Shindell, Phoenix AZ, BFA Chicago Art Institute
- 2008 Sariah Ha, Diamond Bar CA, BFA California State University at Fullerton
- 2009 Stephanie Olesh, Omaha, Nebraska
- 2010 Matthew Farley, Lawrence, Kansas
- 2011 Woohyun Shim, Chicago, Illinois
The Florence Mill has two* historic markers. Click on the marker images at the left to see each in detail. You can read the text formatted exactly as it is on the original markers.
- During the time of the Mormon settlement in the area, they needed a mill to grind corn, wheat, and rye to create cornmeal and flour products. Brigham Young had the mill built to serve those needs. The original mill was constructed next to a creek that flowed into the Missouri River. When the Mormons moved on, usable parts were dismantled and moved on as well. The rest of the structure was eventually deserted. Later on, a new owner of the mill property tore the old structure down and some of the good timbers were used to build a new mill in the area. Surprisingly, that mill still stands, though it is no longer operational as a mill. The mill operated until the 1960s.
- Read more about the Florence Mill during the Mormon era.