FULTON, Ill. (KWQC) — They are handmade gifts. Beautiful. Detailed. Marvels of engineering. The Fulton Cultural Center has model windmills on display. They were built and gifted by the late Henk Hielema who grew up in the Netherlands.
One is designed after a mill built in 1904 in New York. Another is designed from a mill in Iran dating back to 500-900 A.D. A Dutch sawmill took a thousand hours to build.
Henk and his wife June enjoyed visiting windmills both in America and overseas. He often worked from blueprints or photos when doing the design work.
Several of the models move. Visitors can get an up close look at the unique mechanisms and other intricate details. Many of the windmills are made of wood. By trade, Henk was an engineer.
The windmills were used as a signal system during World War Two. Especially when Nazi soldiers came into a community. When the sails were set in a certain position, that was a signal for people to take cover. When they began to move again, that signaled the coast was clear.
Within eyesight of the cultural center is an authentic Dutch Windmill. It was built in the Netherlands. A community steeped in Dutch history. A windmill which is Fulton’s calling card.