The Prairie Mills

Golden, Illinois

The “Prairie Mill”

The photo above shows the “Prairie Mill,” the third and final windmill built by Mr. H. R. Emminga.  It was probably taken around 1910.  Shutters have been installed on the sails, replacing the sailcloth that Mr. Emminga originally used to catch the wind.


The original Prairie Mill consisted of the mill tower and three wings.  The North wing housed Mr. Emminga’s office, the loading bay and the wagon scale.  In this picture, the horses are pulling a wagon onto the scale.  The East wing and West wing (not visible) were used to store grain and flour.


On arrival, the loaded wagon would be driven onto the scale for weighing, then moved to the loading bay to unload the grain.  The empty wagon was then weighed to determine the amount of grain received.  Mr. Emminga kept a percentage of the grain as payment.  After milling, the customer would receive the flour and the bran.


At one time Golden had three operating windmills.  The 1872 Adams County Atlas map below shows the location of the Prairie Mill (1873-1935) , the Custom Mill (1854-1930, the first windmill built by Mr. Emminga) and Gronewold’s Mill(1865-???).  The Custom Mill is the only one marked on the atlas.


Located on the northwest corner of Golden, the Gronewold Mill was much smaller than the Prairie Mill.  It had only a 20-foot diameter sail compared to a 70-foot diameter sail on the Prairie Mill.  The Gronewold Mill was used exclusively to grind livestock feed.

Location of the “Prairie Mill”

Location of the “Custom Mill”

Approximate location

of “Gronewold’s Mill”