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Ayd Mill Area in 1889


The site, which is 600 feet west of the Ridgewood Park station on the Milwaukee
short line, between Milton and Oxford streets and the railroad and Pleasant
Avenue, contains 94.14 acres and includes a portion of the bluff and the old well
known as Ayd Place with the old picturesque stone mill, which John Ayd built
many years ago, and the Ayd mansion.

In the western portion of the site is a small lake fed by springs and the eastern
portion of the tract is full of springs, the surplus water of which may easily be
drained into a sewer. The lake is between two elevations and is overlooked by
the old house on one side. The waters of the lake are turned eastward by a dam,
and at the southeast end of the site is the stone mill where farmers in the early
days came to have their wheat ground. The lake was full of fish in John Ayd’s
time and after Carpenter utilized the place for a pleasure resort many fine trout
were found in the lake and stream, but the fish have disappeared.

The site is susceptible of most attractive improvement, and the park commission
will utilize the natural advantages to the utmost, calling in the best talent to the
work. Mr. Waters, an Englishman who has studied under the great English
landscape gardeners and has been in the employment of the United States
government at the Rock Island Arsenal as improver of the ground, has prepared
a plan for beautifying the spot, which will be submitted to the park commission.

The plan among other features contemplates the transformation of the old mill
into a picturesque castle. The abundance of water on the site will enable the park
commission to add greatly to the manifold forms of attractive landscape here and
as the park will be easily accessible by rail and pretty drives it will undoubtedly
become very popular when the plans contemplated are carried out.