Graue Mill and Museum

Graue Mill and Museum is the only operating waterwheel gristmill in Illinois and one of the area’s remaining authenticated Underground Railroad “stations.” It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the only gristmill recognized as an Illinois Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for representing an important technology and era in the history of America.

Programs on milling, spinning and weaving illustrate life between 1850 and 1890 and the effect mills had on the area’s culture. The mill is open mid-April to mid-November.

The restored Frederick Graue House, an 1850s Victorian house of the Graue family, is a perfect venue to rent for small private functions. House rental information is available by request. For details, contact 630-920-9720 or info@grauemill.org.

Both facilities are owned by the Forest Preserve District and operated by the nonprofit DuPage Graue Mill Corporation.

 

Driving Directions

Graue Mill and Museum is located at 3800 York Road in Oak Brook. It’s at the southern corner of Fullersburg Woods Forest Preserve.

 

Admission

Children 3 and under Free
Children 4 – 12 $2
Adults $5
Senior citizens $4

 

Field Trips

Group tours of Graue Mill and Museum are available. Call 630-655-2090 or 630-920-9720 to schedule your trip. A docent in period costume is assigned to groups of 20 or more.

Group Rates for Field Trips (Minimum 20 persons to qualify for group rates) 

Children $1.75 each
Adults $4.25 each (one teacher admitted free with each class)
Senior citizens $3.75 each

Group Visit Request Form (PDF)

 

Graue Mill Museum Store

Visit the store inside the museum for fresh-ground cornmeal in 1-cup, 2-pound or 5-pound bags; tasty jams and jellies; toys and games; Graue Mill ornaments and unique gifts. The store is open Tuesday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; closed Mondays (except for holidays).

 

Graue House

The restored Frederick Graue House, the 1850s Victorian house of the Graue family, is a perfect venue to rent for small functions. Contact Connie Buczkowski at cbuczkowski@grauemill.org or 630-920-9720 ext. 12 for more information.


Volunteer Opportunities

Help bring the mill and its exhibits to life by interacting directly with school groups and visitors. Volunteer at special events; demonstrate spinning and weaving; or provide behind-the-scenes office support in data entry, scheduling, mailings and filing, as well as human resources, information technology and marketing. Call 630-920-9720 or email info@grauemill.org for more information.

 

History

Born in Germany, Frederick Graue came to the United States and settled in Fullersburg, Illinois, in 1842. In 1849, he and a partner, William Asche, purchased the site of a burned-down sawmill and built a gristmill there. Limestone for the basement walls was quarried near Lemont; bricks for the rest of the walls were made from clay from the Graue farm and fired in kilns near the mill site. Flooring, beams and posts were from white oak timbers cut along the I & M Canal. The four one-ton buhrstones used for grinding were imported from France. After the gristmill opened in April 1852,, it ground wheat, corn and other grains produced by local farmers.

The mill was a major center of economic life during the 19th century and was also used by Fred Graue to hide runaway slaves on their journey to freedom in Canada. President Abraham Lincoln reportedly visited Graue Mill during a trip from Chicago to Springfield. Frederick Graue and his third son, F.W. (William) Graue operated the mill for 70 years until modern milling methods rendered it obsolete and the building was abandoned.

Graue Mill was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in May 1975. In 1981 it was recognized as an Illinois Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers — the only gristmill so designated on a national or local level, representative of an important technology and era in the history of America.

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