Historic Windmill Tours Offer Glimpse into History

Taylor Holt
September 29, 2017 09:57 PM

Located just six miles east of Superior stands what Dennis Hill with the Old Brule Heritage Society calls a hidden gem.

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"This is a very notable historic item," said Hill, President of the society. "It's held its own so far."

It's held up117 years to be exact. The Davidson Windmill was built in 1900 by an emigrant shoemaker from Finland using all local materials.

"He helped his father and grandfather build a couple mills over there so it was a lot of trial and error," said Hill. "All the structural wood is hand hewed. Nothing was sawmilled."

It ran until the mid 1920's grinding flour for locals. Now, it's a place for locals to walk through history.  

"Most of them are astonished that it's still in this kind of condition," Hill added.

The mill was donated to the Old Brule Heritage Society 16 years ago. Besides a few paint jobs, and some work on the roof it's pretty much all the original materials from when it was first built.

"We're eventually going to have to replace the tin outside of it and the windmill arms will have to be reconstructed," Hill said.

Getting the arms back spinning is the goal. The the site is home to other items as well including a traditional Finnish log home and the last wooden queen post truss bridge left in Wisconsin. Hill says he hopes giving tours of the site can give a interesting perspective on life.

"One of the big things I'd like them to take away is how people lived back then. They didn't have many things in those times," said Hill.

He also hopes it can be a learning lesson into the history that this hidden gem has to offer.

"If you don't preserve it (history), it's gone," said Hill. 

The landmark is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The tours will be offered the weekend of the Bayfield Apple Festival. They are free but donations are appreciated.

The days include:

 Friday, October 6th from 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Saturday, October 7th, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Sunday, October 8th, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.




Taylor Holt

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