Historic Sites of Old Fullersburg
Welcome to the Fullersburg Historic District, one of the oldest settlements in DuPage County. Originally known as Brush Hill, Fullersburg was the only settlement between Chicago and Naperville along Ogden Avenue (the Old Plank Road) in the mid-1830’s. Scroll down to see slideshow, and download the Timeline of Historic Fullersburg.
The following sites are also on the historic walking tour; download the Walking Tour.
The historic Ben Fuller Farmhouse (left) just received a new shake roof--thank you to the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County! The house was originally built by Fullersburg founder Ben Fuller in 1840, and it is considered the oldest example of balloon frame construction in Illinois. On its covered porch at right, Kathy and Don Fuller, who is the great-great grandson of Benjamin, reflect on the goodness of the forward-thinking settlers as they read the recently-recovered journal of the Brush Hill Debate Club. There are many entries about Benjamin, John, and other Fuller family members. As said back then, the settlers of Brush Hill (which became Fullersburg) were either a Fuller or they were married to one.
Picturesque Graue Mill Dam is one of the historic treasures of DuPage County. The scenic mill pond above the dam is home to numerous species of birds and wildlife. The current stone dam, nearly a century old, replaced earlier versions built to power a saw mill and then a grist mill for early settlers in this area. Water flows into the sluice gates of the mill now as it did when the settlers had their grain ground at the site. To learn more about plans to remove the dam, see sections "About the Foundation" and "Events." We feel that this structure should remain intact for the enjoyment of future generations.
Patrice Macken and grandkids enjoy the sights and sounds of the waterfall at Graue Mill Dam. (Photo courtesy of Patrice.)
Graue Mill Dam photo by Bruce Nudd
Graue Mill and Museum provides a glimpse into the rich history of Fullersburg. This four-story structure displays a collection of Native American arrowheads as well as artifacts from the Settlement Era. A mill powered by a dam was in place here from 1835, when the Torode family built a saw mill at the present site. In 1838, Frederick Graue moved to the area; he bought the mill in 1850 and converted it to a grist mill. Mr. Graue was also a resolute abolitionist, and the mill soon became a station on the Underground Railroad, which offered assistance to fugitive slaves on their journey to freedom. The cellar houses the massive gear system that operates the buhrstone that still grinds grain. Civil War memorabilia, maps and newspaper articles document the nineteenth century events that affected local residents. Educational and enrichment programs at this site include Civil War battle reenactments, art shows, holiday craft sales, corn husk doll making demonstrations, and dramatic presentations about the Underground Railroad. (Photo courtesy of Dave.)
York Tavern was first built in 1843 by Benjamin Fuller and it remains on its original site. Originally called "The Farmer's Home," it served as both a tavern and a grocery store to the early settlers. Early Fullersburg was close to the transportation routes used by the Potawatomi; York Road, Spring Road, and Ogden Avenue were trails that were in place when Benjamin first visited the area on horseback in 1834. The area thrived as a transportation stop between Chicago and settlements further west. The tavern was restored in 2006, and an example of its original half-timbered beams was preserved behind glass as an exhibit (see photo, right); it is believed to be the oldest continuously operating privately owned eating and drinking establishment in DuPage County.
The Frederick Graue House predates the Civil War, as it was built in 1859 by the successful owner of the grist mill that also bears his name. The house is located a short walking distance from the mill. The home's original style was Italianate, and its recent restoration is historically accurate. Frederick Graue, a resolute abolitionist, was an active leader in Brush Hill and an advocate for the construction of a railroad line from Chicago to Aurora. Today, the house is owned by the DuPage County Forest Preserve, and it can be rented for special events, meetings, and receptions.
Historic Fullersburg Cemetery is the final resting place of many of the founders of Fullersburg and Hinsdale. Numerous WW1 and Civil War soldiers are buried here along with a Confederate soldier with a donated headstone. The Fuller family member graves include Jacob Fuller and his wife Candace, whose stones mark the oldest graves. Son Benjamin, who donated the land for the cemetery in 1851, is nearby, along with Morell Fuller, a drummer in the Civil War. John Coe was a "conductor" in the Underground Railroad; he is buried here, as well as his son Samuel, a Civil War veteran. Other names from the Settlement Era include Van Velzer, Fox, Franke, Ruchty, Walker, and Wegener. Through the efforts of the Fuller family and the Fullersburg Historic Foundation, the cemetery is open to the public on Memorial Day each year. This peaceful location is at the north end of Garfield Street, between Fuller Rd. and Maumell St. in Hinsdale.
Faith Fellowship Church was built by local farmers in the 1880's, and it is close to a bend in Salt Creek by the Graue Mill Dam. The simple wood frame construction includes arched stained glass windows dedicated to faithful members of the congregation. A cemetery on a wooded hill behind the church dates to 1877, and it is the final resting place of members of the Graue family. The waterfall at the dam can be hard from this tranquil site. Originally a German speaking "Free Church," it is now non-denominational.