The De Immigrant Windmill in Fulton, Illinois, is an authentic Dutch Windmill that was manufactured and prefabricated in the Netherlands before being shipped and assembled in the American midwest. It is said to be one of only two Dutch windmills in the United States.
Getting this structure from The Netherlands to Illinois was no small feat. After being built and disassembled in Holland, pieces were transported via ship, rail, and truck. Dutch millwrights and masons accompanied the shipment and were on hand to reassemble and install the structure once it made it to its destination in Fulton. The whole process took over ten months and, when finally finished, it was dedicated on May 6, 2000 during the Dutch Days Festival.
The Dutch windmill in Fulton is a “beltmolen,” combining the Dutch words for “belt” (meaning mound of dirt) and “molen” (meaning mill). It stands at nearly 100 feet tall and constructed on top of a thirty-five foot tall base of solid wood beams.
This Illinois roadside attraction isn’t just there for show: it’s a real working windmill that sits on the flood control dike off the Mississippi River. The entire head of the ninety-foot tall windmill can turn, the sails move by wind power, and the fully functional blue basalt millstones can produce a variety of flours.
You can see the De Immigrant Windmill for yourself on your next Illinois road trip or Great River Road road trip. If you’re driving the Great River Road in Illinois, be sure to also make stops to see the Blues Brothers statue in Rock Island, the Legend of the Piasa Bird in Alton, and the statue of the world’s tallest man.
De Immigrant Windmill
Location: 1000 1st St. (10th Ave. & 1st St.), Fulton IL 61252
Hours: Always visible.
Cost: Free to see. Donations accepted.