Graham's Cotton Mills.

2007.1.21 96 dpi watermarked.jpg


Graham's Cotton Mills.


Freeman Graham, one of the first settlers on Rockford's southwest side, had two businesses: a sour mash distillery and a cotton mill. He built a home between the two which became known as the Graham-Ginestra House. Graham died in 1896, and in 1927 his daughter sold the home to Leo Ginestra, a Sicilian immigrant. The 1869 Rockford City Directory states, "Rockford boasts [one] of the only Cotton Mill[s] in the State of Illinois, or west of the Ohio River. It is a magnificent building, one of the finest on our water power. Built entirely of stone, and surrounded by neat and tasty grounds, it presents a very attractive and creditable appearance. The proprietors are F. Graham, F. Graham, Jr., and J. Graham, doing business under the firm name of Graham & Co. . . . The mill is four stories high, with dimensions 45 x 75 feet. Constant employment is given to forty operatives, while sometimes as many as fifty are employed. This establishment has been in operation only since June, 1867, but already the fame of its manufacturers has spread all over the northwest . . . The average amount of cotton manufactured from the bale, is one thousand dollars per week. The mill and machinery comprises one of the most valuable pieces of property on the water power."


late 19th century


Midway Village Museum




Still Image



Original Format


Physical Dimensions

6" x 9"


“Graham's Cotton Mills.,” Midway Village Museum - Digital Collections, accessed September 22, 2023,