Museum Offers Glimpse At Old Windmill Factory


The family lives in western Australia about 300 miles north of Perth, where Helen Walter is a part-time music teacher and editor of The Windmill Journal of Australia and New Zealand, a quarterly publication of the Morawa District Historical Society. Patrick is a heavy diesel mechanic, and Alex an archaeologist.

Windmills still are used in Australia to pump ground water, she said, and five factories build modern-day windmills for farmers and ranchers.

“We have nothing like this in Australia,” she said of the factory museum.

Right now, sheets of black plastic cover machinery and artifacts to protect them during construction, which started last fall. Board members carefully lifted up the plastic with poles so Walter and her sons could get a good look during the tour.

“They never threw anything away. They kept their records from the beginning,” said board Vice President Bruce Merrill.

The preservation and restoration of the windmill factory at 1416 Central Ave. is being spearheaded by the Kimmel Foundation, which wants to turn it into a world-class museum, said the president, Ernie Weyeneth.

T. Lindsay Baker and John Bowditch, both national authorities on water-pumping windmills, are helping with the project, including how to tell the story of the factory to the public.

“They say in terms of industrial equipment and a windmill factory museum, there’s not another one like it left in the country,” Weyeneth said.

Organizers plan to open the factory museum plans next spring. They’ll shoot videos of the machines, which still run, and display them on digital touch screens at seven informational kiosks.

“It will bring the machine to life,” Weyeneth said.

The Nebraska State Historical Society in Lincoln is helping inventory and preserve papers and other artifacts.

Weyeneth declined to say how much the restoration project will cost. He only would say it’s a great deal of money.

“It’s just impressive,” Helen Walter said. “It’s going to be magnificent when they finally get it done.”

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Posted by on Aug 1st, 2012 and filed under American Street Guide. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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