The Grist Mill is the only Grist Mill still powered exclusively by water in Illinois. Although a reconstruction, the original mill stood in the same site as the reconstructed mill until it was raised in the 1930’s. Built by an all volunteer effort led by Don Baker the water wheel is 12 feet 2 inches in diameter, 5 feet wide, has 36 cups, weighs over 8,000 pounds and develops approximately 20 horse power turns at a maximum 10 revolutions per minute. The wheel is made from corten steel that will not rust.
Water from the mill spring one half mile upstream of the mill flows through a 900 foot long under ground pipe into a two and one-half surface acre holding pond. From there the water travels through a control gate into a pipe laid in the original mill raceway(200 feet long) into the bulkhead of the mill. The bulkhead contains a spillway to control water height and gate valves to control water going into the flume. A sluice gate at the north end then controls the amount of water going onto the water wheel. The sluice gate is raised and lowered by the miller when he turns a wheel on the first floor of the mill to control the flow of water to the wheel.