Learn how our ancestors used the wind to power industry - and the food supply.
Discover how wind power helped railroads, farms, and settlers tame the wild West.
We continue to use wind energy to power our lives in the twenty-first century.
Welcome to Illinois Windmills, a website dedicated to the history, preservation, and continuing story of windmills in Illinois. Many associate Illinois with hundreds of towering white wind turbines spread over acres of farmland. Others may remember wind engines quietly pumping water for families in rural areas of the state.
But what many do not know is that during the nineteenth century, Illinois’ countryside could have easily been mistaken for Holland; the state was once home to over fifty custom wind grist mills. Sadly, only four still stand, and a fifth was constructed in 2000.
NOTICE - Several sites are shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please exercise social distancing and check with your local historical society before considering a visit to any of these mills.
The five surviving custom windmills in Illinois.
Click to learn more about them.