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Fulton's Miller Club visits watermills in Wisconsin and Rockford


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Posted Online: July 09, 2013, 3:56 pm
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Press release submitted by Heidi Kolk

The Miller Club at De Immigrant Windmill in Fulton, Illinois, had the opportunity to visit 2 watermills in the Midwest on July 8, 2013. The Miller Club was formed in 2010 to encourage young people to become interested in volunteering, history, science, and Fulton's windmill area. The participants range in age from 11-18.

2012 was the first year the organization traveled to another town to learn about mills. The first visit was to Franklin Grove, Illinois, to see the rebuilt watermill. This year, the group was invited to experience the Beckman Mill near Beloit, Wisconsin, and the Woodward watermill at the Midway Village in Rockford, Illinois.

Beckman Mill is situated in a 50-acre county park west of Beloit, Wisconsin. The mill was built in 1868, and it has been restored by Friends of the Beckman Mill. Restoration was completed in 1997 with the help of donations, grants, and volunteers. The mill is operational and uses water turbines to power the millstones. The Miller Club was lucky enough to see the mill in operation and corn being milled with the French burr millstones.

The Woodward mill at Rockford's Midway Village is a tribute to the Woodward Governor Company. Amos Woodward arrived in Rockford from Maine in 1856, and he patented the design of the mechanical governor in 1870. The governor was geared to a water wheel, and it worked to stabilize water wheel speed allowing a more reliable source of power to drive equipment. The Midway Village mill demonstrates the types of drills, presses, and saws that could be powered using this system. The mill was opened and staffed specifically for the Miller Club, allowing the group to see the mill in action.

For the first time, the Miller Club will organize and staff a Kids Fest at the windmill area in 2013. The event will take place on Monday, October 14, from 11:00 - 2:00. Fulton's windmill and cultural center will be open to children on the Columbus Day holiday for craft activities, science stations, cultural experiences, and other fun activities. The Miller Club exists and continues to work with local youth because of volunteer efforts and a grant from the D.S. Flikkema Foundation.



















 



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