Directions

1-70 Exit 328 at Hwy 99 turn
Right at the first stop light.

At Hwys 24 & 99 intersection go
South to stop light, turn left.

Contact Info

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 84
Wamego, KS 66547

785-456-2040
wamegomuseum@wamego.net

Membership

Membership information is available here. Send the completed form along with membership amount to the address on the form.

Helpful Links

While visiting the Wamego area you might find these links helpful:

Columbian Theatre
Oz Museum
Pottawatomie Economic Development Corporation
Visit Wamego

In 1973, Dutch Mill was listed in National Register of Historic Places

Dutch Mill

The Dutch Mill is a credit to the town of Wamego. The century-old Mill has become a familiar Kansas Landmark, not only for its beauty, but also for its great heritage. The heritage dates back to 1879 when a young Holland immigrant turned his attention to how the farmers in Kansas were still grinding wheat and corn by hand. With this in mind, John Schonoff built a sturdy windmill on his farm twelve miles north of Wamego.

Each mechanical part of the mill was skillfully done by Schonoff, the iron parts were hammered out on a home-made forge. The main drive shaft was the only part that Schonoff did not make himself. It was found in Leavenworth and hauled to his farm by horse drawn wagons. Each of the wooden mechanisms were also designed and built in his workshop.

The yellow limestone for the lower tower was quarried on the farm near the mill site and was erected by John Chadwick, a talented stone mason from Wamego. Chadwick used white limestone around the doors and windows as a trim. The building itself was forty feet high with a diameter of twenty-five tapering to twenty feet above.  

The statue of Ceres, Goddess of Grain, which adorns the wall of the second story window, was also constructed by Chadwick. The statue was made in secrecy and when anyone would approach him as he was working on it, he would hide it in the grass. Schonhoff’s daughter, it is said, was unconsciously his model for the statue’s features.  

The mill had been idle for numerous years when Ed Regnier purchased the farm in 1896 or 1897. Because he was uninterested in milling, the mill was used for storage. However, the upkeep of the mill was beginning to become somewhat of a problem. A.M. Bittman and Forest Leach proposed the donation of the mill to the City Park and Regnier approved the move. On June 6, 1924, the mill was taken down stone by stone and numbered to get it ready for the move. Using 35 horse drawn wagons, the mill was hauled into Wamego. It was reconstructed on a mound of direct in the city park that had been formed when dirt was excavated to form the City Park Lake.

Since its relocation, the mill has stood on the 25 foot hill beside the lake in the Wamego City Park. Yet, thanks to John Landes, the Wamego Historical Society, the City of Wamego and the Wamego Tourism Committee, as well as private donations, the mill was reopened July 4, 1988 for grinding.

Milling Stones

The original buhr-stone mill was moved to the park along with the stone windmill structure in 1925. The restoration committee determined that the original stones were too dilapidated to restore and they are now on display in the Wamego Historical Museum.

John Landes located a “Thomas Bradford Corn Mill”, which was constructed similarly to the mill’s original stones. Howard and Robert Creason, Wichita, had restored this mill and donated it to the Wamego Old Dutch Mill to preserve pioneer milling.

Further research indicated that the “Bradford” mill may be older than the original stones.

Milling

When grinding grain into flour, two stones were used; one stationary flat stone on the bottom called the base stone and a revolving stone on the top call the cap stone. The Wamego Dutch Mill is an exception to this as the top stone is stationary and the bottom stone moves. When powered, the cap stone turns at about 100 revolutions per minute and sometimes weighed as much as 2,000 pounds. Grains were fed through the hole in the center, usually from a hopper and the flour was caught in a curb around the base stone. Both stones were furrowed, beginning at the center at a depth of about a wheat berry, the furrow growing shallower towards the outer rim.

The fineness of the grind was controlled by the angle of the furrows and the closeness of the stones.

Very few, if any, of the early mill stones were a single stone. The grinding surface was more often composed of three or four small pie-shaped stones. They were fitted, cemented and bound by a steel band. Truing and grooving of the stones was done by hand; a vanishing art today. The grinding surface on a mill stone is usually a hard porous siliceous stone from France. The first such stones were used as ballast on empty French ships sailing to this country and dumped out on shore to take on cargo. These French stones were used in American for making grinders a long time before it became known to French millers.

Other grinding stones were made from granite or flint rock, same as used by Indians to make arrowheads. The Greeks developed water wheel powered mill stones about 450 B.C. and the Romans geared several stones to a waterwheel in about 3050 B.C.

Wind driven flour mills were developed about the 7th century and steam driven mills came in 1784.