De Immigrant Windmill

Location: Fulton, Illinois

Webpage: Museum

General Description: Most of the long term residents of Fulton, Illinois, are descendants of the Dutch and wanted to commemorate their heritage with an authentic Dutch Windmill along the banks of the Mississippi River.  However, all of the surviving windmills in Holland are now protected, so instead they had a windmill constructed from scratch in Holland, disassembled, and transported to Fulton.  The town constructed the brick and cement base for the windmill and dedicated their new, yet authentic, windmill in 2000.  Today it stands as a landmark on the Mississippi and a draw to tourists from around the world.  It is a working windmill, which they operate for short periods of times when the wind is right to mill corn and wheat for sale to tourists.  Across the street from the mill itself is a small windmill museum that has numerous windmill models from around the world made by a local artist.  Admission is through donations and is certainly worth the time.

Impressions:

1) This is one of those “jewels” you can find in small towns if you are willing to take the risk.  The windmill itself is notable from both the highway and river as it stands well above the buildings in Fulton.  Our first impression was surprise at the great condition of the windmill until we found out is a relatively new.  Unfortunately, it was a calm day when we visited, so it was not running while we were there, but we enjoyed spending nearly an hour talking with the volunteers.

WindmillBack

2) The windmill museum across the street from the windmill is well worth visiting.  I leaned a lot about windmills from all over the world and time.  A local artist has constructed models of many different kinds of windmills and some even have motors to operate them on request.  Each model has a small description about where it is from and what its purpose was.  While windmills were used to grind grain as this one was, they were used more for the control of water, either as a source of water or to drain an area.  It was interesting to see the evolution of windmills up to those of today which are being used to generate electricity from the wind.

WindmillModels