Franklin Creek State Natural Area and Grist Mill

We can thank the Franklin Creek Preservation Area Committee for the Franklin Creek State Natural Area - the first and only state natural area created by an ALL volunteer organization AND for the reconstructed timber framed Grist Mill also constructed by an ALL volunteer effort.   To learn more about this committee and its volunteer efforts click here.  

The Grist Mill is open for tours from 12:00PM – 4:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday May through October.   Experienced tour guides will teach you and your family about the history of the original mill as well as the creation and workings of the reconstructed mill.   On the last Saturday of the month you can observe corn being ground.   A $2.00 per person donation is recommended but not required.   In addition to the weekend tours available for the public, group and school tours can be arranged (see article below).

Premiering this summer we have a variety of nature walks scheduled.    On the second Saturday of every month we have Bird Walks at 8:00 AM. These walks will begin at the Grist Mill Parking lot. Join seasoned birders as they lead a walk through the Franklin Creek State Natural Area highlighting the migrating birds and the one who make the park their home.   The next Bird Walk will be led by Karen Lund on September 13th at 8:00 AM. On the last Saturday of the month, we have Geology Walks highlighting some of the oldest rock formations in Illinois beginning at the Franklin Creek Grist Mill led by Geology student and enthusiast Kristina Hallam.  The next Geology Walk will be September 27th at 10:00 AM.

This fall we are pleased to announce the following free classes at the Grist Mill :

Medicinal and Nutritional uses of Dandelion and Plantain

October 4th, 10:00 –11:30 AM, Free

Medicinal and Nutritional uses of Nettles and Violet

October 18, 10:00– 11:30 AM, Free

with Carol Campner

The classes will include medicinal and  nutritional use as well as how to make salves and essential oils. Carol is a self taught herbalist, a massage therapist and Reiki practicioner. 

The third floor of the mill is also available to rent for weekly classes, workshops, corporate gatherings, parties, family reunions, etc. Please visit our rental information page to learn more.

As we are primarily a volunteer operation we continue to need volunteers and your financial support.  Click here for the volunteer applicationClick here for our Membership form.  We also offer three major fundraisers a season at the Mill, the next one being an Afternoon at the Mill, September 28th.  Brian Fox Ellis will present Prince Maximilian (See Featured Event).  Dinner is at 1:00 PM followed by the program at 2:00 PM.   Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling Julie Hage at 815-288-5445.

For more information regarding volunteer opportunities such as becoming a Grist Mill tour guide, preservation and restoration work days at our newly acquired Headwaters and Hurd properties, or manning and or managing our Grist Mill gift shop please call our newly hired executive director Moira OKeefe at 847-975-9642 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Also be sure to "like" us on Facebook at  

Click here to view the Summer 2014 Newsletter.

Upcoming Events

View full calendar

Featured Event

An Afternoon At The Mill
with Brian "Fox" Ellis as
Prince Maximilian


September 28th, 1:00 PM

Join the Prince of Wied, Maximilian, as he takes you on a tour of North America as he saw it in 1832-33-34. Using Karl Bodmer’s illuminating illustrations, Prince Maximilian will escort the audience on an adventure from the Grand Banks of Newfoundland to the Great Falls of the Missouri River, from New Harmony, Indiana to New Orleans, Louisiana. Travel with this intrepid explorer to meet America’s best scientific minds, explore the West in the wake of Lewis and Clark, camp among the Mandan, Lakota, Crow and Omaha and participate in traditional American Indian drumming songs. Storyteller and author Brian “Fox” Ellis steps into the shoes of Prince Maximilian allowing the audience to step back in time. Blending history, science, art and cultural anthropology, the Prince gives us a unique view of America as he saw it in the early 1830s. Much of the text for this performance comes directly from his journals. The backdrop includes the landscapes, portraits, and scenes from everyday life painted by Karl Bodmer. This program was sponsored in part by New Harmony, Indiana in celebration of their bicentennial, with support from the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, Nebraska.

 Dinner is at 1:00 PM followed by the program at 2:00 PM.   Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling Julie Hage at 815-288-5445.   

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