Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Nearest Dutch Windmill to My House Isn't Far

There's a Dutch windmill at the Fabyan Forest Preserve along Illinois 25 in Kane County. It's impossible to miss from the road, but in all the years I've driven this route -- one or two times a year, probably -- I've never stopped for a good look. That was my ambition on Sunday. We were planning to go the Sunday before, but persistent thunderstorms changed our minds.

Actually, there was a thunderstorm early in the morning this Sunday, too, but things cleared up before long. By around noon, we arrived at the site. This is the windmill. It only looks crooked in this photo. It's evenly placed on the ground, but from down the hillside, it looks like it's leaning:

It's as if you were teleported to Holland, standing in front of the thing. But Dutch style is the more correct way to describe it, since in fact the structure was built in DuPage County, Illinois, in the 1850s. It stood in a rural spot then, destined to be the western suburbs of Chicago 100 years later. Different sources say that Dutch or German immigrant craftsmen originally built the thing, but whatever the case, it's got that Netherlander vibe.

One George Fabyan, more about whom later, fancied the windmill in the early 1910s and had the wherewithal to have it moved, piece by piece, and reconstructed at its present location on a rise overlooking the east bank of the Fox River. During his lifetime in the early 20th century, it remained the same working windmill, a grain-grinding location, that it had been in DuPage; now it's a cool little museum. The kind of museum I consider cool, anyway, and as a bonus to us contemporary visitors, restored to fine shape by Dutch windmill craftsmen in the early 2000s.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home