Hurray for history

Since 1853, the Graue Mill has been grinding out cornmeal on its traditional stone gristwheel.

Frederick Graue, a German immigrant to this picturesque corner of DuPage Country, also housed runaway slaves in the basement and the mill is one of the few remaining authenticated Underground Railroad stations. It also served as an important center of economic life in DuPage County during the 19th century, and President Lincoln himself is said to have paid a visit.

Docents are on hand to demonstrate the basics of grain milling, from shucking the corn to grinding it on the large stone wheel to bagging it up in cloth sacks. Bring home a large bag (it’s freezeable) and follow the provided recipes to make your own traditional cornbread at home.

Hike along the waterway that powers the mill—Salt Creek—on the path of the adjacent Fullersburg Woods. At the end of the trail you’ll find the Fullersburg Woods Nature Center (free entrance), where kids can see a mastodon skeleton, identify animal tracks, climb a bird’s nest, play with animal puppets and birdwatch with binoculars. Don’t miss the annual Graue Mill Fine Arts Festival (10 a.m.-5 p.m. June 8), which features paintings, ceramics, hand-woven textiles, mosaics, pastels, stained glass, jewelry and wildlife and nature photography—all created by local artists. History buffs will enjoy the Illinois 10th Regiment’s Civil War Encampment (10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 30 and 31), which will take visitors back to life in a Union military camp of 1863, complete with firing demonstrations and drills, cooking and crafts.

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