Breaking News Bar
updated: 9/24/2013 4:39 PM

More long-term repairs needed for historic Graue Mill

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Graue Mill in Oak Brook will need several thousands of dollars in structural repairs before the grist mill will resume grinding corn. DuPage County Forest Preserve commissioners are expected to review repair proposals by year's end.

       Graue Mill in Oak Brook will need several thousands of dollars in structural repairs before the grist mill will resume grinding corn. DuPage County Forest Preserve commissioners are expected to review repair proposals by year's end.
    SCOTT SANDERS | Staff Photographer

  • Engineers began inspecting the mill structure and timber supports in June after routine preventive maintenance raised concerns.

       Engineers began inspecting the mill structure and timber supports in June after routine preventive maintenance raised concerns.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 

A new report on conditions at Oak Brook's Graue Mill confirms what engineers initially thought when they examined the 161-year-old structure back in June.

According to the 114-page report shared with DuPage County Forest Preserve commissioners Tuesday, the mill along York Road is in good condition for a building its age but will need many repairs to preserve its safety and integrity for the long term.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

Structural Engineer John Frauenhoffer told commissioners there are critical deficiencies in the structural support columns and beams that need to be fixed to ensure the structure's stability.

"It's got the same kinds of problems that buildings like this, that have been around for so long, have," Frauenhoffer said. "The good news is that it can be reinforced so that we can breathe decades more life into the facility."

While the interior and exterior masonry is sufficient, Frauenhoffer said several foundation stones have suffered cracks from the freeze-thaw cycle and will need to be replaced where flooding has caused rapid deterioration of walls and floors.

He also pointed out inadequate support and stability for the gear systems and the mill stone crane operations, which led him to declare the mill unsafe in June and to shut down milling operations for several weeks until an alternate grinder was purchased. The new grinder has allowed the mill to resume production of cornmeal as its primary source of revenue through the unofficial end of the milling season on Nov. 10.

The report also highlighted significant issues related to accessibility for all visitors.

The forest preserve district owns the historic mill, which was a stop on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War.

Kevin Horsfall, the forest preserve district's landscape architect supervisor, said engineers were called in June to review the integrity of the structure and the mechanical gear operations after repeated flooding of the mill and preventive maintenance found signs of significant stress on several mill components.

By the end of the year, Horsfall said, he hopes to present the board with alternatives and costs to address the concerns highlighted by the engineers. Following that report, he expects commissioners to discuss how to pay for the repairs, which may start at $20,000, and determine phased-in priorities.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.