Monday, June 3, 2019

Climbing a Traditional Dutch Style Windmill in Illinois

Climbing a Traditional Dutch Style Windmill at Fabyan Windmill in Geneva, Illinois

Climbing a Traditional Dutch Style Windmill in Illinois

Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva, Illinois is full of delightful surprises blending nature with architecture. Here you can tour the Fabyan Villa remodeled by Frank Lloyd Wright and wander a footbridge in a Japanese Tea Garden among other elements. Our recent visit presented the splendid opportunity to climb Fabyan Windmill.


Seeing a Dutch style windmill on the horizon in Illinois is surreal. We enjoyed exploring and climbing the Fabyan Windmill in Geneva, Illinois
Seeing a Dutch style windmill on the horizon in Illinois is surreal.
Fabyan Forest Preserve gently rests along the Fox River. We arrived early for windmill tours, so we meandered a bit through the preserve. The windmill is actually across the river from other notable spots, so we crossed. From across, you have a pleasing a view of the windmill.

Bridge crossing the beautiful Fox River in Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva, Illinois
Bridge crossing the beautiful Fox River.

Fabyan Windmil
l currently is open for tours on Saturdays and Sundays 1PM-4PM May 15 - October 15. Tours are self guided. While touring is free, donations are suggested. When it got closer to 1PM, we crossed back over the Fox River to explore the windmill.

Captivated by Fabyan Windmill an authentic Dutch style windmill in Geneva, Illinois
Captivated by Fabyan Windmill.

A smattering of placards provided some of the history of the windmill. The windmill was originally constructed in 1877 in a traditional Dutch style by German craftsman Louis Blackhaus in Lombard, IL. The wealthy businessman George Fabyan and his wife Nelle had the windmill moved to their estate in 1914. The windmill had fallen in disrepair over the years since the time of the Fabyans but was restored by Dutch Windmill Maker Lucas Verbij. Verbij expressed that the Fabyan Windill is the best Dutch-style windmill he has seen in the U.S.

Exploring Inside Fabyan Windmill:

Some of the large processing equipment found in the basement of Fabyan Windmill.
Some of the large processing equipment found in the basement of Fabyan Windmill.
The tour starts in the basement of the windmill. Basements were not typical in windmills and it is thought that it served the purpose of housing large processing equipment. The windmill processed a variety of flours and feed for animals. Another unusual characteristic of Fabyan Windmill was the presence of a bread oven which can be seen in the basement. The bread oven may have been used to bake bread for the Fabyans' pet bears.

Taking a peek at how grain came down from the floor above.
Taking a peek at how grain came down from the floor above.

In addition to the basement, we were able to explore two more floors of the five floor windmill. We received a brochure at the beginning our tour which did a great job of detailing each piece of equipment. Above, you can see how grain was funneled down from where it was ground above.

A look at one of the windmill's grindstones at Fabyan Windmill in Geneva, Illinois
A look at one of the windmill's grindstones.
On the second floor, we discovered the grindstones. We learned how the grindstone's grooves were used to cut grain. The grindstones were made out of French Buhr Stone which is a limestone that was quarried near Paris, France. The grindstones weigh an incredible 2,500 pounds.

Stepping Outside Way Up High on the Fabyan Windmill:

Stepping outside on a balcony gave us a unique look at the sails of the windmill at Fabyan Windmill.
Stepping outside on a balcony gave us a unique look at the sails of the windmill.

From the second floor, we could walk outside. We enjoyed an interesting perspective of the sails. The windmill was functioning during our visit, so we could only go so far. But, what a neat perspective!

Magnificent view of Fabyan Forest Preserve from atop the Fabyan Windmill in Geneva, Illinois.
Magnificent view of Fabyan Forest Preserve from atop the Fabyan Windmill.
The view from atop was splendid! We were lucky to be able to visit on such a stunning day. Truly, the visit provided with so many picture perfect moments plus we learned an interesting slice of local history.

Fabyan Windmill provides a beautiful and interesting subject for photos!
Fabyan Windmill provides a beautiful and interesting subject for photos!
Climbing Fabyan Windmill was a bit surreal. This truly was an unexpected experience in Illinois! Fabyan Forest Preserve provides an intriguing yet tranquil and charming location for an adventure. Pack up a lunch and see what you can discover!

Climbing a Traditional Dutch Style Windmill in Illinois at Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva, Illinois

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