Saturday, April 20, 2019

Henry Holstein and his Grist Mill in Bloomingdale, Illinois.

Henry Holstein was born in Hanover, Germany, December 22, 1821, eldest son of John H. and Maria (Boss) Holstein. John H. was a farmer, and died in his native land in 1862, aged sixty-five years. He had two sons and five daughters—Louisa, Fred and our subject. Louisa is the wife of Louis Homeir, of Addison Township, and Fred resided with her. 

Henry was raised a farmer, and remained with his parents until fourteen years of age, when he went to learn the miller's trade. In the spring of 1849, he came to America, arriving in Baltimore the end of May. The next month, he came to Addison Township, where he worked at farming, and afterward went to Cook County. The next year, he returned to Addison and rented land from Deitrich Stuckmann, where he continued thirteen years.
The wind-powered grist mill purchased from Mr. Colbury. This drawing of Henry Holstein's residence and mill was shown in the 1874 Atlas Map of DuPage County, Illinois.
He then moved to the unincorporated Bloomingdale area in 1863 where Holstein bought 114 acres of land at today's Schick and Bloomingdale Roads, costing $2,600, and lived there until 1874.

He moved again, just north of the village of Bloomingdale (incorporated 1889; re-incorporated 1923), where he bought the land and old wind-powered mill (Note: windmill build date is unknown) owned by Mr. Colbury. The land included the intersection of Chicago and Elgin Road (in 1891 the name changed to Elgin Avenue, then later to Irving Park Road) and Roselle Road (Roselle, Illinois, incorporated in 1922).
1874 Bloomingdale Township Map - Approximate location for Holstein's house and mill.
The mill was one of the largest in the area and designed for large-scale production, built with a wing building, presumably used for shipping or receiving. It was constructed with a foundation of stone, a wide base, and a self-governing tail fan to turn the cap.
Henry Holstein's residence and mill. The windmill was on the southeast corner of Irving Park Road and Roselle Road. The Holstein house was on the southwest corner.
(The exact location provided by the "Illinois State Library.")
Holstein hired experienced German miller Henry Raap to operate and maintain the mill. As experienced as Raap was, he narrowly escaped death when a tornado heavily damaged the Holstein Windmill in 1879.

Holstein did not reopen his mill for business until 1882 after painstakingly reconstructing it with improvements. He added a third run of millstones to increase the mill’s capacity.

Soon after reopening, however, Holstein sold the mill to a man named Steinbeck. Steinbeck hired Herman Schmoldt to operate the mill with Raap. When a steam engine was installed, Raap left to work for the railroad. The mill was destroyed by another tornado in 1899; this time, however, the mill was not rebuilt, but rather “capped” and served the rest of its life as a grain storage space.
Henry Holstein's mill after it was hit by a second tornado in 1899, destroying the top of the windmill.
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

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