by Sandy Husted
After many years of searching for an old farm windmill – and constantly being told “it’s not for sale” – John and Sandy Husted, Antioch, had all but given up.
Until a phone call one evening from Brandon Otto, local auctioneer.
Otto had found a sale south and west of Beto Junction that had one standing, and it was on the sale bill, so the Husted’s traveled to Beto and waited for the windmill to sell.
Unfortunately the sale price started at the amount the Husted’s had set as their highest bid..But Sandy heard two men behind her talking. One said to the other , “you would have sold yours where that one started, wouldn’t you?” And the man agreed.
The Husted’s immediately determined the man was serious, so they drove back to Beto Junction and on north to Olivette, where they purchased the man’s windmill.
The following day, John Husted and Lloyd Lynn, rural Gardner, traveled to Olivette, loaded it up and drove it home.
On the way back, a quick stop at their son Milton Husted’s home, convinced Milton that his dad had bought a piece of junk.
But while Sandy spent time with an ill sister, John started rebuilding the windmill.
He said the tail, by itself, had 47 bullet holes in it, not counting all the ones on the blade.
After Milton located another old windmill, John took each piece apart, cleaned, welded or replaced it until everything was in good shape.
Then the painting began, and the couple had always known they wanted it to look like a large sunflower.
They took the tail to David Fesenmeyer, owner of Sign Here, to be painted as it originally came from the factory with the name Aermotor@Chicago on it. Fesenmeyer also agreed to bring his sign hoist truck and lifted it into place.
With the concrete poured, all seemed to go well to get it raised – but wait – the pad was in one area, while the windmill was in another part of the yard.
So efforts began to move the mill to where the hoist could set it upright. After a few failed attempts, it was decided to bring in the heavy equipment.
With the assistance of Hubert Kethcher, who picked up the heavy end with his big tractor, and Albert Beatty, who chained to legs to his little tractor, it was accomplished. With one pushing, and one guiding, the windmill was moved into place.
It had taken a year from start to finish, and an old-fashioned windmill raising party was held July 23, with lunch, country and gospel music, and refreshments.
Despite the heat, the windmill raising, as well as John’s 80th birthday and Sandy’s 75th, were enjoyed by about 150. Children in attendance were given balloons, which were released in front of the windmill.
After all was said and done, Milton Husted had changed his mind about his dad buying junk.
Restored windmill stands the test of time
by Sandy Husted