The Danish Windmill (Elkhorn, Iowa, USA)


Hello, inquisitive people. Wander Woman here.

“The Great Melting Pot” USA

The term “The Great Melting Pot” has long been associated with the United States of America. Imagine, if you will, a giant cooking pot into which you throw numerous different ingredients from all over the globe. You simmer and cook them, and they melt together to form a delicious stew. This was the traditional idea of the USA: that people would move here from all over the world and then, in effect, melt their different heritages and ethnicities together to form a single American culture.

Over time, this has proven to be true only to a certain extent.

While newly arrived immigrants tend to conform somewhat to American culture over time, they have also proven successful at maintaining their own heritage, culture, and traditions from their homelands. A fantastic novel about this subject is American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I found it to be an informative and entertaining read, and I recommend it as such.

The Danish Windmill in Elkhorn, Iowa, is one example of a little bit of the “old country” brought to the USA by an American citizen of Danish descent.

In the 1970s, an American man living in the small rural town of Elk Horn, Iowa, went on vacation to Denmark to explore his Danish heritage. While there, he noticed a number of windmills dotting the Danish countryside. Unfortunately, one of those windmills had been built in 1848 and had fallen into disrepair.

He decided to purchase the windmill, ship it home to Iowa, and repair/restore it to its original condition.

The cost of this ambitious project was $11,000 to buy the windmill, $14,000 to pay for the labor to dismantle it, and $8,000 to ship it to the United States. Other residents of Elk Horn, receiving word of his intentions, pitched in to help raise the necessary funds.

Upon Arrival Of The Danish Windmill

Upon arrival in Elk Horn, the Danish windmill was reassembled and is now the only working Danish windmill in the United States, a matter of great pride to the Elk Horn community. The 60′ (18 m) high windmill can be visited by the public, and guided tours are offered for the eminently reasonable price of USD 3. Those funds are applied to the windmill’s upkeep. So if you’re ever traveling through that part of Iowa,

it’s well worth a quick detour from the interstate to see this picturesque and historic windmill.



  1. Wow! I’d love to see that, I had no idea it was there (I haven’t been to Iowa yet). What a dedicated endeavor too, buying it and bring it all the way here and all that entailed!


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