Des Plaines Windmill, Park Ridge Windmill, Old Dutch Mill
Lawrence Ave and River Rd
Schiller Park, IL 60176
Damaged, destroyed 1930s.
(1870 - 1913) Wheat
(1869 - 1870)
Henry Brockman, Sr.
Henry Brockman, Sr. (1869 - ?)
Henry Brockman, Jr. (? - 1930s)
Schiller Park Public Library
Schiller Park Historical Commission (SPHC)
Francis W. Parker School Year Book. Chicago: Francis W. Parker School, 1913.
The Brockman Windmill
History of the Mill
Although plenty of photographs of this windmill exist, little is known about its past. It is known that Henry Brockman, Sr. brought windmill plans and help with him when he came to America and established his property near Lawrence Avenue and River Road in what was then the Fairview area of Leyden Township. The farm and mill stood near a small dirt path, presumably named “Mill Road,” just north of Lawrence Avenue. When mill construction finished in 1870, Brockman experienced successful business. Farmers from Leyden, Jefferson Park, Norwood Park, Maine, Proviso, Cicero, and Bensenville used the mill regularly.
Brockman’s mill was built to handle fall harvest demands: it featured two run-of-stone and all of the necessary equipment for wind-driven wheat grinding. The two grain elevators installed in the mill were both used for wheat: one elevator hauled grain to the upper floors for cleaning and separating in the smutter. After grinding, fresh flour was lifted by a separate elevator to the wheat bolting machine, where flour was separated and sent down chutes to the first floor for bagging.
A small wing building may have housed either an office or a steam engine to drive the mill on calm days (based on photographs of this building with a chimney). It is unclear what the purpose of the building was, since shipping and receiving took place at the mill’s center. Brockman’s mill was also one of few in Illinois built with a tail-fan to automatically turn the cap into the eye of the wind.
Although business for the mill declined by the turn of the 20th century, the mill was operable—and in great condition—until about 1913. Eventually, weather brought each of its sails down, wrecking the stage. Soon afterward, the tail-fan and the remaining sails weathered away. The mill collapsed on its own in the early 1930s.
The farm was sold after the death of Henry Brockman, Jr. and the land was redeveloped. The area where the mill once stood is now a parking lot. It is unknown what happened to the mill stones. Recently, the Schiller Park Historical Commission installed an historical marker about one-quarter of a mile west of the original site. It reads: “Former site of Brockman’s Mill before 1900. Schiller Park Historical Commission.”