John W. Durdle, a windmill collector form Hopedale, Ill., traveled 500 miles over two days for this afternoon's grand opening of the Kregel Windmill Factory Museum.
Durdle recently discovered an Eli windmill in Illinois for purchase. He has not yet erected the windmill, but says it is intact.
The grand opening is scheduled at 2 p.m. today near Central Avenue and 15th Street. A ribbon cutting is scheduled at 3 p.m.
Durdle, a retired assembler for Caterpillar, currently has about 80 windmills in his collection.
Durdle said the Eli, which was manufactured at the factory, was purchased by a man who was coming through the area. "He had stopped at a farm and the lady said she had an Eli, it had just fallen down," he said.
Durdle remembered visiting the Kregel factory years before and bought the windmill for his collection.
He said he had been in town talking to Sid Suedemeier about anvils when he learned of the factory and was able to take a look. He noticed a sing left by manufacturing expert John Bowditch.
"There were metal shavings laying on the floor. That's what made it seem so authentic, as if the workers had just left one day and never came back," he said.
Durdle said he is interested to see if those details of the factory have been preserved.