Windmills are symbols of the Great Plains and have been used
for generations to pump underground water to the surface for
irrigating crops, watering livestock, and providing a reliable
source of water for laundry, and kitchen use. Nebraska was home
to several windmill builders, including the Climax Windmill
Factory in Falls City, Charles Dempster Windmills in Beatrice,
and the Fairbury Windmill Company in Fairbury. Norma Ehlers
remembers their family's washhouse was by the windmill. They
carried water from the windmill tank to a stove inside the washhouse.
There, they heated the water to wash clothes, and then put them
through a wringer, rollers that squeezed the water out of the
sheets and clothing.
Written by Claudia Reinhardt.