Built in 1853, the Gray-Watkins Mill was constructed by Daniel Gray to be used as a water-powered turbine flour mill on the Fox River. Daniel, a veteran of the War of 1812, migrated from New York to Illinois & had an industrious spirit. He acquired most of the land surrounding the west bank of the river & got to work.
Throughout the course of his life, Daniel ran the Mill as he intended, even becoming the sole flour supplier to the largest Union Army training camp that sprung up a mile away - Camp Hammond - during the Civil War in 1861. After his death & for the subsequent three-quarters of a century, the Mill was used in many different manners in order to stay economically viable. In the 1890’s, the Mill answered the call & became a pure water bottling facility for a new firm, Hinckley & Schmitt. In 1907, it was converted to grind mica & was the main stop for racing cars on their way to the new Indianapolis Auto Speedway. In 1945, Ernest Anfinsen purchased the building to manufacture automotive parts, but it was then abandoned after his death in 1971.
Shortly after, the Mill was acknowledged as a historic site by Montgomery & nearby Aurora, which led to its renovation in 1976. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 17, 1979. Now, fully converted whilst still keeping it's history & charm, the Gray's Mill Estate opens its doors & continues to serve the community it is so deeply rooted in.
The Mill stands four stories tall including a lofted space & lower level. The top floors, proudly dubbed the Foundry Halls, are used for private events, community meetings as well as annual Gray's Mill wine & whiskey tastings, & holiday festivities. The bottom floor is now the home of Danny Boy's Speakeasy where one can indulge in comfort food & unbeatable cocktails. Behind the building you'll find the riverside Baum's Biergarten & be transported to a world of German beer & cuisine. Come stop by any day of the week to experience the property for yourself.
will be the newest addition to the Gray's Mill & construction is already on the way. Slated for completion in April 2024, this new space will be able to accommodate gatherings of a larger size. With panoramic views & a retractable roof, you'll be able to host your event indoors or outdoors, rain or shine, any day of the year.