Custom Windmills

Lahman Windmill

 


1742 Reynolds Road
Franklin Grove, IL 61031

 

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Status

Destroyed by owner, 1900


Uses

(1875 - ?) Grist

(? - 1900) Tile


Constructed

(1874 - 1875)


Millwrights

John Lahman Strock

Joseph C. Lahman

John D. Lahman

David F. Lahman


Owners

John Lahman Strock (1874 - 1888)

Joseph C. Lahman (1874 - ?)

John D. Lahman (1874 - ?)

David F. Lahman (1874 - ?)

F. D. Lahman (1888 - 1900)

C. W. Lahman (1888 - 1900)

F. A. Down (1888 - 1900)

E. R. Irwin (? - ?)

 

 

The Lahman Windmill after being converted to produce tiles

Photo courtesy Ellen Baker



History

  

There are two historical texts associated with this windmill.  The first comes from the Encyclopedia of Illinois: “The Wind Grist Mill was built in 1874 near the southeast limits of the village, by J. L. Strock, J. C., J. D. and D. F. Lahman, at a cost of $13,261. The wheel was 80 feet in diameter and, at its top, was 105 feet above ground. The enterprise did not prove to be profitable. The property changed hands several times, and was finally converted by J. L. Strock into a tile factory, which was successfully conducted for a number of years until his death in 1888, and afterwards by F. D. and C. W. Lahman and F. A. Dow. A succession of dry seasons reduced the demand for tile and, in 1900, the machinery was exchanged for western land and the buildings sold.”
 
The next comes from Lee County History:  “In 1875 E. R. Irwin erected a large flour mill east of town. This was a large wind mill with 40 foot blades to catch the wind. It was a prosperous business venture for many years until 1890 when it was converted into a tile factory, with the top of the structure being removed.  In 1900 the entire building was ultimately torn down.”
 
The windmill also gained mention in a local publication when the author interviewed the volunteers of the Franklin Creek Grist Mill, a reconstructed, fully operational water mill in Franklin Grove, Illinois.  It is written that the windmill that once stood in town was erected by John Strock and brothers Joseph Lahman, John Lahman, and David Lahman.  The “new, improved” mill was built in 1875 at a cost of $13,000.  It had “enormous fan blades, sails, eighty feet in diameter; a Dutch-type windmill...Eventually it was converted to a tile factory and then razed.”
 
Ellen Baker, the current landowner, appreciates the history of the site and is proud to say that remnants of the mill, which she has preserved and recorded, are still present.  She writes that the great timbers of the mill were sold off: some to an addition to a barn, which still stands on Reynolds Road and Ashton Road in Ashton, Illinois; and some are in buildings still standing on the Walgreen Estate in Dixon, Illinois.  According to her research, the windmill was first used as a tile factory and was later converted to a grist mill before being torn down.


 
 

Sources

 

-Bardwell, A. C. Encyclopedia of Illinois: History of China Township, IL.  Chicago: Munsell Publishing Company, 1904.
-www.leecountyhistory.com
-Aschenbrenner, Caralee.  “Please Don’t Quote Me…” Be a Prairie Advocate.  July 27, 1994.
-Ellen Baker, current landowner



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