Wind power has become a major source of alternative energy in the Hoosier State, as farmers everywhere are storing and selling power to their communities. Kendallville, Indiana is the windmill capital of the Midwest, and home to the Mid-America Windmill Museum. Every summer, Indianapolis residents road trip 160 miles northeast of the Circle City to experience the historic evolution of the windmill, which dates back more than 1,600 years.
The museum hosts school field trips, family vacations, receptions, events and day trips beginning on weekends in April. Beginning in May and through October the museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The golden age of windmills in American history was in the early 1800s, when Flint and Walling Company of Kendallville produced 11 windmill models. The Mid-America Windmill Museum is the only place where all of those models are exhibited. This museum has more than 50 windmills on site, and each display features a nearby informational plaque that details the windmill’s size, function and manufacturer. Between 1860 and 1920, there were more than 90 windmill companies within an 80 mile radius of Kendallville.
This day trip from Indianapolis is fun and educational. Upon arrival to the museum, guests watch a nine-minute video that introduces the story of wind power. Windmills originally replaced man power as a main energy source, but soon they too were replaced, by steam power, then electrical power, then gasoline.In order to restore uses of clean energy sources, windmills are now replacing those steam, electric and gasoline sources.
In 1994, the Mid-America Windmill Museum inherited an 1889 two-story barn. This barn was rebuilt on a new foundation before the museum opened, and it now houses the museum’s main display of windmill history. The 1854 Hallady Standard windmill was the first commercial windmill ever made, and it’s on display at the Mid-America Windmill Museum.
The museum charges a small admission fee, and an even smaller admission fee for Indianapolis children. Kids under 6 get in free, so this is a day trip from Indianapolis that the entire family can enjoy. Looking for more museums to visit? Check out the Ragtops Museum and the Old Lighthouse Museum, both located in Michigan City, Indiana.
Mid-America Windmill Museum
732 South Allen Chapel Road
Kendallville, Indiana 46755