Golden IL is home to 1 of the 2 Dutch Windmills in Downstate Illinois
Golden Windmill | Golden, IL
 
TThe mill is built on a site purchased on June 26, 1872 by H. R. Emminga.  He bought thirty-three acres of land adjoining the south line of Keokuk Junction, now known as Golden, from Col. Wm. Hanna. By July 3, 1872 the material for the first story and octagonal center was on the ground, ready to be erected.  Thirty-five loads of rock were hauled from a creek some seven miles distant by farmers of the community.  The large elm, oak, and hard maple timbers were sawed by a Mr. Buss near Mt. Sterling.  The lumber from which the bolting machines and other machinery were made was also sawed there.
 
TOn August 11, 1872 carpenters, under the direction of H. R. Emminga, began work and the first story was completed September 2, 1872.  The following winter and spring Mr. Emminga made most of the wooden machinery used in the mill.  The main drive wheel, or master wheel, of the cam and sprocket type, is twelve feet in diameter, made entirely of hard maple.  It required almost eight months to finish it.  In the fifty-two years of continuous service, this wheel has hardly shown wear.  The main shaft on which the wheel as well as the four fans are fastened is made of cast iron and weighs 4,700 pounds.  The bearing in which it rests weighs 340 pounds.  These were made special order of the City Foundry in Quincy.  The smaller iron parts were made in Camp Point.  Mr. Emminga drew all the plans and even made the patterns for the castings.
 
TOn April 5, 1873 the upper stories and the tower of the mill were erected, and on April 15 the main shaft was put in place. Due to the weight and the great lift of 62 feet that was the most difficult part of the work.
  There were two sets of lava burrs (millstones) ready for use on September 1, 1873, and the grinding of buckwheat, rye, and corn was begun.  Under the firm name of H. R. Emminga & Son, the first shipment of buckwheat flour was made to Carthage on November 8, 1873.  On March 9 wheat.  The delay was occasioned by difficulty in obtaining bolting machinery.  On August 15, 1874, the third set of burrs was placed.  This burr is five feet in diameter and weighs 5,000 pounds, and its installation completed the mill.
 
TIn September 1874, H. R. Emminga & Son sent samples of wheat flour ground in the mill to St. Louis, Missouri, where it was awarded first prize for the best flour on the market.
  In the fall of 1878, H. H. Emminga bought his father’s interest in the mill and remained sole owner and proprietor until his death December 9, 1915.   After Mr. Emminga’s death, the mill was operated by the Golden Elevator and Mill Company until March 1, 1922, when it was taken over by the Consolidated Cereal Company.  J. J. Emminga and F. B. Franzen consolidated the two windmills at that time.  Mr. Franzen has been operating the old windmill described in the first part of this story in the country two miles east of Golden.  F. B. Franzen became the sole owner of the plant on March 1, 1923.
 
TIn the early eighties, the making of wheat flour was discontinued because of the roller process.  Efforts in other lines were increased and these are still in demand.  Buckwheat, graham and cornmeal ground on the large burrs are desired by a large trade.  The present operator, F. B. Franzen sends large shipments from the Golden windmill to many parts of the country.
 
TA strong wind tore off two of the four fans on the old windmill on February 9, 1924.  Mr. Franzen was not handicapped by this.  In August 1924, he installed a 30 horse-power gasoline engine assisted by his son, Ralph, and son-in-law, Walter Reynolds, to be used till the fans could be repaired.
 
TH. R. Emminga built two other windmills of the same type, the first, two miles east of Golden in 1854, and then one in Germany in 1863. The mill built in 1854 is no longer being used, but the one built in Germany is still running.
 
Today the Prairie Mills Windmill Golden Historical Society maintains the site, and tours are available. More information is available at their website: goldenwindmill.org
 

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