By: Megan Palera
The Kregel Windmill Factory is more than a century old and still stands tall in Nebraska City. On Friday, it was reopened to the public as a museum and a way to teach visitors about renewable power.
The factory is an impressive snapshot of the past. Built in 1903, the original building remains nearly untouched. The hand tools, inventory and industrial age manufacturing machinery are all still intact and working.
"We have done very little to touch any of the dust... We could probably produce a windmill in here within a week," Museum Director Jeremy Kirkendall said.
Family owned and operated for over 110 years, the Kregel Windmill Factory has withstood the test of time; surviving and thriving in small town America until it closed in1991. On Friday, family traveled from all over the country to Nebraska City to celebrate a new chapter for the factory.
"So many people so dedicated to something they sense will enrich our future generations. Especially our youngsters who come through here to see the engineering, the techniques that were used, and the methodologies that were used," Dr. Mark Kregel said.
Over the last three years, local private foundations have invested close to $1.7 million to turn the factory into a museum. It's now the last remaining, intact windmill factory in the country.
"I have countless folks come and knock on the door everyday who will say, I remember this place. I knew Art. I knew Louise - that was his wife. And they tell me stories about these folks so there's a lot of nostalgia that's attached to this particular factory here in Southeast Nebraska," Kirkendall said.
The museum is open to the public. Admittance is $5 for adults and $3 for children/students. To arrange a visit, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org