Danish Windmill in Elk Horn, Iowa
It's the only authentic, working Danish windmill in North America.
My friends and I decided to meet in Kearney, Nebraska for a friends' weekend. It's only about a 5 hour drive either way from Denver or Des Moines, so it's a nice meeting point. On my drive from Des Moines, I saw signs to see a Danish windmill in Elk Horn, and I decided to stop.
Elk Horn is a town in Iowa that's predominantly Danish. In the 20th century, some Danish-Americans decided to raise the money to buy an authentic, 19th century Danish windmill from Denmark. It was shipped over in pieces in the 70s, along with a model replica that was designed to teach the towns people how to assemble the actual windmill. It was constructed by local volunteers. Shortly thereafter, a law was passed in Denmark that forbid exporting their mills. So, this one in Elk Horn is the only authentic, working Danish windmill in North America.
To enter the windmill, you first enter through a gift shop. They sell Danish cookbooks and cookies, T-shirts, books, and holiday collectibles. I paid the $3 to walk through the mill, and that included a video introduction that went over the history of the mill. On the main floor,
Model of the Windmill
A model of the windmill was sent over to teach the Elk Horn townspeople how to put the real one together.
I got to see the model windmill that was sent to the towns people. I also got to see some old-fashioned apple presses. I was allowed to climb up two more floors and walk around the outer balcony of the windmill. Pretty cool! I could see the grinding plates, and they sold some of the grain they ground in the gift shop.
When I finally came back down, I walked around the outside. There was a bust and plaque that was dedicated to Hans Christian Andersen. There was also a very tiny chapel there that was built by a Danish immigrant. It's only 6' by 8'.
I purchased some little souvenirs for the kids for the trip. Jo got a paper doll set, and Oliver got a book of fairy tales. I got Andrew some Danish butter cookies, too. It was a really nice stop, a good place to stretch and walk around.
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