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The old Wind-Powered Grist Mill at Golden, Illinois. Sketch made by Mr. Donnell.

Donnellson, Illinois (Mr. dough tells in an interesting way, the
story of this old mill at Golden, Illinois. He apologizes for the
fact that it is not a steam engine or thresher but states it is
closely allied to them.-Editor)

M? GOOD FRIEND, MR. CAR-son Donnell and I made the 140 mile trip
to Golden, Adams County, Illinois, to see the old Dutch style wind
mill, on June 19, 1953.

Mr. Donnell made a sketch of the exterior of the building and as
it has not been in use for quite a while we prevailed on a man
living near the mill to show us inside of it. As we climbed several
flights of steps leading from one floor to another, our guide
called to our attention to the treads of the steps being worn
almost half way through near the ends and also that the steps had
been turned around so the other ends were also worn down. A rope
dangled at the right side of each flight of steps so one could help
pull himself up as the steps were very steep owing to the limited
room especially near the top of the tower.

We were especially fascinated by the exceptionally neat
workmanship of the old German millwright who came over to this
country and built it. I would judge the large wooden gears varied
from 4 feet to 12 feet or more in diameter and perhaps from 4
inches to 6 or 8 inches face. Both bevel and spur gears were built
up entirely of wood and pinned together with wood pins. The spokes
of the larger gears were mortised into wood shafts as large as a
man’s body, and the smaller shafts were 5 or 6 inches in
diameter, all made of wood with iron gudgeons and iron bands on
ends of shafts.

The hard maple cogs were mortised into the wood rims. The
mortises, tendons, jims and joints were applied with linseed oil so
that when driven together and dried they were practically glued

I would judge the main power shaft is 60 feet or more above the
ground. A large gear with a built-in brake drum was attached to the
power wheel shaft. This gear engaged a smaller one on a vertical
shaft from which the power for the machinery lower down in the
tower was taken. Each successive set of gears were arranged to
multiply the speed as the arms of the wind blades were 35 feet long
thereby describing a 70 foot circle and naturally turned very

On the second floor from the ground the three sets of stone
buhrs were located so that any set could be thrown into or out of
gear by shifting large timbers to mesh the gears in or out.

At the top of the tower is a cap-shaped dome built in the form
of a turret so that it could be turned into the wind from any
direction. Long timbers from the turret came down to a sort of
winch affair which was operated from platform built around the
tower about midway of its height. This platform was recently
removed owing to its decayed condition. When the mill was turned
into the wind it was anchored in position against the torque of the
gears. The arms of the wind blades have decayed and fallen

The heavy machinery, gearing shafts, buhrs, etc., are still
intact, but the small equipment such as cleaners, bolters, etc.,
have been removed.

We were unable to get much history of it as those we were able
to contact differed slightly in opinion but they all agreed it was
built around 1870. Years ago it operated day and night grinding the
grain grown locally, also 10 car loads of buckwheat each year
shipped in from New York State. It was originally owned by a
German, Mr. Emminga who passed away years ago.

To us it seems deplorable that it is allowed to crumble to
ruins, when if someone could be interested to put it in repair and
preserve it as a shrine dedicated to the memory of a past
industrial era it could be done. We wish that some historical
society, the state, or some one with influence would become
interested in it. In a few more years it will be completely in

It is located just off of Illinois Highway 102, about 30 or 35
miles northeast of Quincy.

When exploring this old relic of the past we saw all this
machinery as still as death for many years, but it is easy to
visualize how in former years it hummed with activity

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