Graue Mill readies for opening after 2013 flood

The 162-year-old gristmill used to make cornmeal is still out of commission. But that won’t prevent business as usual from taking place when Graue Mill and Museum opens April 15 for its 2014 season.

The mill was shut down a year ago after problems were found following major mid-April flooding in the area, which left more than 4 feet of water in the building’s basement. Engineers from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, which owns and maintains the grounds, found a split beam in the basement of mill building when they inspected after the flooding occurred.

No cornmeal was made in May or June, but a temporary, smaller grinder was installed and will again be used to make the popular cornmeal.

“We still have some cornmeal left in the freezer and will be making it again with the smaller mill,” said Cathy Kolessar, director of operation for Graue Mill and Museum 3800 York Road. “It pretty much will be business as usual for us when we open; we just can’t run the big mill.”

Kolessar said the mill still would be in place for those interested in seeing it. And officials from the forest preserve district will be deciding on what type of repairs or changes will be made.

“We really don’t know a lot about it, other than we’ve been told we are a priority,” Kolessar said.

The museum will continue in 2014 to provide programs for school children on field trips and others, including milling, spinning and weaving, and living history presentations. The museum also has artifacts that illustrate the way of life of area residents between 1850 and 1890 and the impact mills such as Graue Mill had on area culture.

One change for 2014 is that because of restrictions on the number of people allowed in the museum and mill at one time, self-guided tours will be available each hour, on the hour, on weekends and all summer after school is out for the year.

“Before, people could just come in whenever we were open and walk around,” Kolessar said. “We just can’t have really big groups inside at the same time. It’s just a safety issue.”

Kolessar said popular programs, such as Cornfest, Civil War Enactment, Underground Railroad, Fine Arts Festival and sheep shearing all are back for 2014. An updated listing of events for the year should be available soon online at http://www.grauemill.org/specialevents.htm, Kolessar said.

“We’ve also added a few new live performances, mostly musical,” she said.

Business hours for the Graue Mill and Museum are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday, except for Easter, when it will be closed. The mill and museum also is closed on Mondays, except for holidays.

For more information about the Graue Mill and Museum, call 630-920-9720.

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