The Kregel Windmill Factory Museum in Nebraska City is unique, according to Jeremy Kirkendall, its director.
“It’s the very last, intact, historic windmill factory in the United States,” Kirkendall says. “This building was built in 1903 and they produced the Eli water-pumping windmill here from 1903 in this building until about 1940 or ’42 when raw materials being rationed during the war prevented them from being able to produce on a larger scale.” The factory continued to operate until 1991.
Kirkendall says the museum is a mixture of old-time manufacturing mixed in with today’s technology.
“As you walk through, you’ll have seven different touch-screen kiosks that are associated with different areas of the factory, the assembly area, the forge area, the drop-forge area, the woodworking area and so on,” Kirkendall says. “You’ll be able to watch videos and there’s another place where all of our artifacts are lighted.”
The factory is filled with all of the original materials and tools from the early 1900s, making it a combination treasure trove and time capsule.
“As far as windmill factories go in the country, this is the last one known to exist,” he says. “At first people thought maybe this is a regional or state thing but really, it’s a national thing to think about.”
For more information, visit: www.kregelwindmillfactorymuseum.org
By Nate Gonner, KNCY, Nebraska City