Fullersburg Forest Preserve and Graue Mill Improvements – Oak Brook IL


In 1933, a troop of men from the Civilian Conservation Corps troop V-1668, made up of veterans, started building what would become the Fullersburg Forest Preserve. The men built a caretakers cottage (Old Water Mill), a boathouse, bridges, and picnic shelters at the site. They also renovated a mill located at the site. The work in the park was largely finished by 1936 (Du Page Clerk), and by 1937 the historic Graue Mill, originally built in 1852, was functioning as an educational facility for the community (Sweet).

The oldest standing part of the Fullersburg Forest Preserve is the Graue Mill. The mill was built in 1852, and was handed down through generations of the Graue family as they produced flour and cornmeal (Graue Mill and Museum). According to the Graue Museum that currently stands inside the mill, it actually served as part of the Underground Railroad during the civil war (Graue Museum). After years of heavy use up through the early 1900’s, the Civilian Conservation Corps troop V-1668 was dispatched in 1934 to begin renovations of the mill (Old Water Mill).

Today, a museum stands in the Graue Mill. Inside are many artifacts from the 1800’s, with scenes frozen in time. In the basement is a hidden away treasure trove with information on the Underground Railroad, and maps pointing out which areas of Chicagoland were also a part of the secret movement. There are also demonstrations and educational community events (Graue Mill and Museum) (Welcome).

The impact of the Civilian Conservation Corps work is also evident on the Fullersburg woods. Upon entry, the biggest structure you see is the original boathouse built by the camp in the 1930’s. It now serves as a nature education center. All of the benches have recently been redone with fresh wood due to deterioration since the 1930’s, and the bridges have been renovated since the CCC’s work. While the picnic pavilions have been renovated as well, they are still reminiscent of the work of the 1930’s. Most retain the original CCC stonework bases and have preserved the original designs regardless (Thompson).

This New Deal project served to preserve the past and conserve wildlife. As written in the Chicago Daily Tribune in February 1937, the historic mill boosted interest in the area historical society. The Fullersburg woods serve as a recreational and educational outlet, some parts of which look frozen in time (Sweet).

Source notes

1.	"BUILD COTTAGE FOR CARETAKER OF WOODS AREA." Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963), Sep 10, 1933. 1, http://search.proquest.com/docview/181468700?accountid=10231.
2.	"DU PAGE CLERK POINTS OUT HOST OF PICNIC SPOTS." Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963), Jun 18, 1933. 1, http://search.proquest.com/docview/181398146?accountid=10231.
3.	"Historypin | The Civilian Conservation Corps at Fullersburg Woods." Historypin. http://www.historypin.com/attach/uid45626/collections/view/id/3233/title/The%20Civilian%20Conservation%20Corps%20at%20Fullersburg%20Woods (accessed April 27, 2014).
4.	"OLD WATER MILL AT FULLERSBURG TO BE RESTORED." Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963), Oct  07, 1934. 1, http://search.proquest.com/docview/181544194?accountid=10231.
5.	Sweet, Oney Fred. "MILL BOLSTERS DUPAGE HISTORY SOCIETY DRIVE." Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963), Feb 21, 1937. 1, http://search.proquest.com/docview/181893945?accountid=10231.
1.	"Graue Mill and Museum." Fullersburg Historic Foundation. http://www.fullersburg.org/GraueMill.html (accessed April 23, 2014). 
2.	Graue Museum. N.d. Historic Graue Museum. Oak Brook, Illinois.
3.	Manion, Annemarie. "Flooding, age take toll on Graue Mill." Chicago Tribune, March 25, 2014. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/hinsdale_clarendon_hills_oak_brook/ct-graue-mill-renovation-tl-03-27-20140325,0,1491452.story (accessed April 23, 2014).
4.	Thompson, Richard A., and Etta Susan Chapek. "Chapter 16: Oak Brook." InDuPage roots, N/a. Wheaton, Ill.: DuPage County Historical Society, 1985. http://www.dupagehistory.org/dupage_roots/OakBrook_16.htm
5.	"Timeline of Historic Fullersburg." Fullersburg Historic Foundation. http://www.fullersburg.org/documents/TimelineWeb2.pdf (accessed April 23, 2014).
6.	"Welcome to Graue Mill and Museum- Graue House." Welcome to Graue Mill and Museum- Graue House. http://www.grauemill.org/grauehouse.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Project originally submitted by Mary Burth, Columbia College on May 25, 2014.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

3519-2603 Spring Road
Oak Brook, IL 60523

Coordinates: 41.825009, -87.93530190000001

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