Accessibility Information

at Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site

Accessible SymbolThis symbol indicates that the specified area is fully compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG).

Accessible SymbolVisitor Center

The visitor center has a large, sloped, paved parking lot. Two handicap parking spaces are available with one space having a 2.7% slope. Adjacent to the parking spaces is a system of pathways: one leading to a series of railed steps and the other to a railed ramp. Entry is simplified with power-operated doors. Inside, you’ll find the museum store on your left and restrooms to the right, along with a water fountain. The restrooms provide side-transfer toilets, accessible lavatories and electric hand dryers.

The museum is very accessible with plenty of maneuvering room. The exhibits vary from glassed-in cases to hands-on experiences. An orientation video, providing an overview of the family, farm and mill, and a slideshow are offered for those not able to take the tour. Also available are large-print scripts and photo albums, video scripts, slideshow scripts and Braille walking tour books. There is a DVD containing two short films available for viewing at the visitor center. One illustrates the various steps and accompanying equipment in the woolen mill for cloth production. The other film shows mill machinery that is similar to that found at the Watkins Mill in operation. The machinery is located at a mill in Ontario, Canada

Historic Site Tour

From the visitor center, the tour follows a loosely packed, gravel road, with the first stop at the Watkins family cemetery. Here, rough stone steps lead up a grade where a low stone wall has steps leading over it.

Next is the Watkins home. Access to the home is over natural turf with an initial slope of about 5%. The porch has two steps and the threshold has another step. Inside, doorways are wide and rooms are accessible. A railed stairway goes to the bedrooms on the east side of the second floor. There is a very narrow stairway with no railing leading to the bedrooms on the west side of the second floor. The back porch has a railed ramp to the back entrance.

Watkins Mill is just down the road from the house. There is a steep incline between the mill and the gravel road. Access is over grass turf to the engine room and the front entrance. There is a ramp into the front door or entrance into the back threshold allows handicap access even with the uneven brick floors. Existing conditions such as excessive heat, uneven floors, and steep stairways should be taken into account before touring.

Franklin School and Mount Vernon Church Area

The level parking area is of 1-inch gravel. An accessible vault toilet is located here and has a paved, handicap parking space. Access to the buildings is along the packed gravel road, which has minimal slopes. A handicap ramp with side curbs crosses the ditch and the area is natural turf from there on. The church sits quite near to the road. This building has two high, limestone steps to the porch plus a 6-inch high threshold. The school is reached by navigating a narrow, v-shaped gate and crossing an expanse of natural turf. This unusual structure has four steps plus a threshold.

Shelter House

The shelter house has paved parking on a slight slope with a paved pathway. A sidewalk extends from the shelter to an accessible water fountain. The shelter provides extended-end tables, two group grills and seating for 83 people. The vault toilet is down a 5.5% slope and has not been modified for wheelchairs. The closest accessible vault toilet is farther down the shelter road in the picnic area.

Accessible SymbolPicnic Areas/Fishing Dock 

In the West Lake Picnic Area, you’ll find an accessible picnic site, which provides an extended-end table and a pedestal grill. Handicap parking spaces are adjacent to a system of paved pathways that access the picnic site, vault toilet, hiking/bicycling path and an accessible fishing dock. The fishing dock has a shady bench and seating area for your convenience. 

Picnic areas are found all through the park and provide a table and pedestal grill. The Williams Creek Picnic Area, closest to the church and school, has one handicap parking space with an aisle to accessible vault toilets. Picnic sites, however, are on natural turf and some visitors may need assistance.

Beach Area

Two paved, level, handicap parking spaces are adjacent to a path that takes you past an accessible vault toilet and change house to the gravel path leading to the beach. The initial gravel slope is a bit rough and has a grade of 11% for 30 feet. The beach is of sand and may be difficult for some visitors to use.

The adjacent picnic area has an accessible vault toilet with one handicap parking space. However, picnic sites are not accessible at this time.

Boat Launch Area

Plentiful parking is available on a level to slightly sloped paved lot. An accessible vault toilet is located at the upper end near the paved trail. The boat launch is 20 feet wide, paved and has a 14% slope. The courtesy dock would be accessible, but the dock does not have any curbing or railing.

Accessible SymbolCampground

This wooded campground offers two basic and three electric accessible campsites, which provide an extended-end table, fire ring and lantern post. Four of them are reservable. Sites 66 and 99 are in close proximity of the showerhouse. Accessible water hydrants are spaced throughout the area.

Showerhouse 1 provides paved parking from level to minimal slope (no curbs) with transition to sidewalks outside the building. A handicap parking slot is located on the left side of the building. The accessible showerhouse has a roomy interior with side-transfer toilets, and two exterior, roll-in accessible uni-sex shower rooms with locking doors. The lavatories are front-approach style with extended faucet handles. The electric hand dryer and electric outlets are within reach. The laundry room has a top door washer and front door dryer, and a deep wash sink. A double kitchen sink with an extended tap handle and countertop is available for washing dishes.

For off-season camping, an accessible vault toilet is provided in this area.

Showerhouse 2 has a level, paved parking lot in front of the building, with no curbs and transition on to the sidewalk.  A handicap parking slot is located on the right side of the parking lot. This accessible showerhouse is a duplicate of Showerhouse 1.


Several paths near Showerhouse 2 connect to the sawdust path leading to the amphitheater. The path has a general slope of 6% and has room for wheelchairs behind and to one side. Some visitors may need assistance.

Accessible SymbolPlayground

An accessible playground is located near the campground entrance. One handicap parking space is adjacent to a sidewalk leading to the playground and a shady sitting area.

Dump Station

The pull-through dump station has a paved tower and hatch. There are hose bibs at each end of the island. There is a frost-free hydrant with a pull up handle for water in the off-season; access is over turf with an uneven surface.

Hiking/Bicycling Trail

Starting at the trail access at the West Lake Picnic Area and going clockwise will give you approximately 0.4 mile of paved trail with minor slopes. These slopes increase past the beach access, although slopes do not exceed 9%. There is an accessible scenic overlook deck located at a seasonal waterfall, approximately 2,000 feet north of the swim beach. The entire paved 3.75-mile trail circles the 100-acrea Williams Creek Lake.

Equestrian Trailhead

Here you’ll find a level, gravel parking area with a couple of picnic tables on grass turf. Two hitching posts are provided.

Special-Use Area

This area has a mostly level, gravel parking lot with an accessible vault toilet. Sites are packed dirt with a fire ring and tables provided. Sites are situated on a slope with the first one mostly level. There are some tree roots and natural variations of slope.

For more information, contact the facility:

Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and State Historic Site
26600 Park Road North
Lawson,MO  64062-8939
1-800-379-2419 TDD

Last updated: February 2017