Sunday, April 16, 2017

A little piece of Holland

On a recent outing we ventured up to the city of Fulton. Settled in 1835 and originally called Bakers Ferry after the first settler. That changed in 1838 when the city was renamed after Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat. Officially chartered in 1859 Fulton became a transfer point between the upper and lower Mississippi. People from many nations settled here bu the predominant ones were from the Netherlands.

To celebrate their Dutch heritage and taking advantage of a series of dikes that had been built to combat extensive flooding during high river levels it was decided that an authentic Dutch windmill would be constructed and in 1998 a contract was signed to construct the windmill in the Netherlands by craftsmen who had been building these same typed for centuries. It was built in sections and then shipped from the Netherlands to Fulton to be assembled on site by a team of Dutch millwrights who traveled to oversee the construction.

The type of windmill chosen is known as a "Beltmolen" meaning that it is built into the side of a levee or dike and the style and colors are in keeping with windmills that operate in the Netherlands today. When the base was constructed the bricks used came from two 100 year old buildings from Holland. Once finished it stood 45 feet high and the arms or "Sails" spread out 72 feet and on May 5th, 2001 the mill was dedicated and run for the first time. The mill is completely authentic and operational even to the point where actual grinding is done and the resulting flour sold at the cultural center across the street.

The mill's open from May thru October and is well worth your drive to see a piece of authentic working Dutch technology.

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