Frederick Graue was born in Germany, came to the United States and settled in Fullersburg, Illinois, in 1842. In 1849, he purchased the site of a sawmill that had burned down, along with his partner William Asche, and constructed a grist mill there. Asche later sold his share to Graue. 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. 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 the old mill obsolete and the building was abandoned.
Photo captured July 13, 2019.
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