Danish Windmill in Elk Horn, Iowa
We stopped in Elk Horn, Iowa to see the only authentic working Danish windmill in America. The windmill is a labor of love for the people in Elk Horn.
Elk Horn's Danish windmill was built in 1848 in Norre Snede, Denmark. This mill and others like it in Denmark and throughout Europe were used to grind grain into flour for farmers in neighboring communities.
The windmill’s trip from Denmark to Iowa in 1976 is fascinating and started with one person, Harvey Sornson believing the people of Elk Horn could make it happen. He found the windmill in Denmark while Elk Horn raised $30,000 to have it dismantled and shipped. After a year of dedicated and free labor, the windmill was reassembled and in working condition.
In the 30 years that Elk Horn has enjoyed this mill, it has become one of the most popular and successful tourist attractions in Iowa.
Located on the grounds is the Morning Star Chapel. The Chapel is 6' x 8', contains a pulpit, alter, and 4 small pews. On the ceiling and behind the pulpit are hand painted nature and religious scenes, which were done by a woman who was the Director of Art at the Independence, IA State Hospital. The Chapel also includes a copper cross on the steeple.
The VikingHjem demonstrates a typical structure used throughout Scandinavia and Northern Europe during the latter Dark Ages to the early Middle ages. You can experience the life of a Viking Smithy in 900 A.D. from the blacksmith shop and woodworking area to the demonstrations and lectures.