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Lake County may be known for its steel mills, but the first industry to dot the landscape is not along the shores of Lake Michigan but next to the stream that gives Deep River County Park in Hobart its name.

Massachusetts transplant John Wood built a saw mill in 1838 and a grist mill a year later on the banks of Deep River and settled with his family to provide wood for new settlers' homes and corn meal and flour to feed them.

Acquired in the 1960s by the Lake County Parks and Recreation Department and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, today's Wood's Historic Grist Mill was restored in 1976. Authentic equipment was restored and installed in the four-floor brick building in 1991 after its purchase from a mill in Virginia.

The mill is surrounded by gardens, a visitor center, a popular wedding gazebo and Grinder Field, home of the vintage base ball team the Deep River Grinders.

The final home games this season are at 2 p.m. Sept. 21 versus the Champion Hilltoppers or 2 p.m. Oct. 5 against the Rock Springs Ground Squirrels.

The sweetest event at Deep River County Park, 9410 Old Lincoln Hwy., is Maple Syrup Time in March, featuring a lesson in how trees are tapped, a visit to the sugar shack where sap is boiled to create the syrup, and a visit with the Voyageurs and Woodland Indians who make maple sugar over an open fire. The gift shop sells the pure maple syrup, maple sugar candy and maple souvenirs.

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