May 21, 2008

Graue Mill - Oak Brook, Illinois

Frederick Graue was born in Germany, came to the United States and settled in Fullersburg, Illinois. He purchased land and began to build a waterwheel gristmill. It took five years to construct using bricks made from clay taken from the Graue farm and fired in a kiln near the site, and white oak timbers cut from a tract along the I & M canal near Lemont. The four huge one-ton buhrstones used for grinding were imported from the coast of France. The large gristmill was finished in 1852 and was used to grind the 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. Three generations of the Graue family operated the mill for 60 years until modern milling methods rendered the old mill obsolete and the building was abandoned.

The building was eventually added to the properties of the DuPage County Forest Preserve District. In 1934, it was decided to restore the mill to the period of 1852-1868, the time the waterwheel was in operation. The restoration was completed in 1943 but was not maintained. In 1950, the mill property was leased to the DuPage Graue Mill Corporation, an organization formed by local residents, who repaired the waterwheel and gear system and opened the museum.

Graue Mill was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in May 1975. And in 1981 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.

May 19, 2008

Finch Foundry Sticklepath Devon, UK

Finch foundry is a tourist attraction in Sticklepath Devon, UK and here we have one of the working water wheels on location. The Foundry is owned by the National Trust and they have regular demonstrations available. This water wheel is not your normal mill, rather it powers a forge to produce mining and agricultural tools for the surrounding community. Today there are three water wheels driving large tilt hammers and grindstones.

May 18, 2008

Waterwheel in the town of Okehampton, Devon UK

This Old Mill is in the center of the town. It’s an early nineteenth century water mill on a medieval site where the mill building has been converted into flats. The water wheel however, has been retained.