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Franzen Bros. Windmill

Gridley, IL




Sail Span




(1869 - ?) Original

(1872 - 1874) Reconstruction



George Saucer (Original)

Martin (Reconstruction)



George Sauer (1869 - 1872)

Franzen Brothers (1872 - ?)


History of the Mill


There are two interesting histories that the author assumes are about the same windmill.  The first comes from the Livingston County History: “To supply the deficiency of water-mills in the township, and make the item of milling more convenient, about 1869 a wind-mill was built on the farm of Geo. Sauer [Nebraska Township].  It remained in running order and was a ‘thing of great convenience to the residents of this locality, until its removal in 1872 to Gridley, McLean County.”


The McLean County history reads: “One of the seven wonders of Gridley is the wind-mill built in 1874 by Mr. Martin, of Peoria, for the Franzen Bros.”  It goes on to read that it is a Dutch windmill with three run-of-stone, lacking a “fan-tail,” that the entire mill is constructed of wood, uses a governor to tenter the stones, and that the owners are installing a 30-horsepower engine to turn the mill on calm days.


Since the dates line up perfectly, it is highly likely that this windmill was first constructed in Nebraska Township.  Its run there was short lived, as it was dismantled, relocated, and reassembled in Gridley, where it enjoyed a long and prosperous business until its destruction.




  • Le Baron Jr., William.  The History of Livingston County, Illinois.  Chicago: William Le Baron, Jr. & Co., 1878.

  • Le Baron Jr., William.  The History of McLean County, Illinois.  Chicago: William Le Baron, Jr. & Co., 1879.

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