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Mid-America Windmill Museum

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

The Mid-America Windmill Museum in Kendallville, Indiana, is one of only two such museums
in the country — though it touts itself as the only one to collect and display windmills
outdoors to preserve the history of the use of wind power, from its beginning in the
colonies to the present-day wind turbine. Settlement of the heartland and the plains
depended on windmills to pump water and generate power for domestic needs. The westward
expansion of the railroad system required great quantities of water to power the steam
locomotives. This provided the cattle drives an avenue to follow because there were
windmills and water along the rail routes. After a brief video presentation on the story of
wind power, visit the 1880s barn that was moved onto the museum’s grounds. As you walk the
narrated path between 49 authentic windmills, you can hear the song of the breeze as it
spins their blades. The location of the museum is no accident. More than 90 windmill
manufacturers operated within an 80-mile radius of Kendallville in the late 1800s. The
area’s wind-powered legacy is an outgrowth of the German, English and Ukrainian immigrants
who settled there. At present, many windmills stand unused and deteriorating in fields — a
situation the museum is trying to rectify. With the help of volunteers, the museum opened
in 1996 with a handful of restored windmills. Today, the 40-acre site features windmills
from as far away as Arizona and the museum has quite a few more in storage, waiting to be
set up. As we were leaving this unique museum, the windmills perched atop a hill produced
squeaks and groans in the breeze that sounded like a song about a piece of American
history. Mid-America Windmill Museum, (260) 347-2334, midamericawindmillmuseum.com.

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