Davidson Windmill renovations underway, donations needed

Renovating the Davidson Windmill

The Old-Brule Heritage Society is repairing structural damage of the Davidson Windmill, while maintaining historical integrity.

Located off Highway 13 in Wisconsin is a historical landmark. Finnish immigrant Jacob Tapola Davidson arrived in the South Range in 1886 to secure his 80-acre homestead. The homestead patent was granted in 1892, and in 1900, construction began on the Davidson Windmill.

The windmill was completed in 1904 and was used to grain flour and animal feed for locals. Due to competition and the death of the builder, the windmill ceased operations in 1926. The Davidson family donated the mill to the Old-Brule Heritage Society  in 2001.

Old-Brule Heritage Society member Dennis Hill has been involved in the maintenance of the windmill for several years. 

“This tells people how people live. Around 1900, then in 1900, when they started building this, we never had an airplane, never got off the ground,” said Hill. “The car was a novelty and the roads were mud, couldn’t use them anyway. And yet this windmill was built.”

The Heritage Society is now renovating the Davidson Windmill. 

 “We were checking on the tin on the outside of the building, and we found that one of the beams was rotted almost all the way through,” explained Hill. “And that’s what supports the mill- it is in definite danger of collapsing. So we’re doing this project to save the mill.”

Construction workers have been working Monday through Friday for the past few weeks. 

“The structural part should be done in a week or so. Then we’ll be putting tin on in the spring,” said Hill. “The inside will look like it did in 1904 when it was completed, while the outside looks brand new.”

With a $40,000 price tag, donations are needed. 

“We’re kind of gambling on people’s generosity to get this thing finished and to continue to preserve the mill.”

Donations can be sent to: 

Old-Brule Heritage Society, Inc. 

4808 S. County Road F., P.O. Box 24

Maple, WI 54854