Velkommen to the small town of Elk Horn, Iowa! As part of my #FreedomRocks2016 tour, I passed through Elk Horn and saw this huge windmill in the middle of town. Of course I had to get out and find out what it was all about! In this little town of Elk Horn, about 6 miles North of Interstate 80 off of Exit 54, is an authentic 1848 Danish windmill. It offers a working museum, tours, and lots of different gifts.
In the mid 1970s, the community raised the funds to bring an authentic windmill to town, which including dismantling it in Denmark, shipping it here, and re-assembling it. The overall cost for this was over $100,000, which was a heck of a lot of money back in the 1970s!
I learned that the towns of Elk Horn and Kimballton make up the largest rural Danish settlement in the United States. Who would have thought?
Elk Horn & Kimballton have the largest rural Danish settlement in the US. #iowatravel Click To Tweet
Part of the outside tour includes seeing a large bust statue of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, who was best known for writing children’s stories, such as “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Little Mermaid.”This is called a Viking Hjem. During the Viking age (around 900 AD), it was used in Northern Europe and Scandinavia for blacksmith shops, woodworking and even has living space.
Here is the one end of the structure, too.
This is the Morning Star Chapel – built in 1951 by a Danish immigrant, it can now be rented for weddings, vow renewals, or any other ceremonies. It sits in a nice shaded area and would be perfect for small wedding.
A community proud of it’s Danish heritage, they also offer two festivals throughout the year — the Tivoli Fest in May (Saturday & Sunday of Memorial Day weekend) and Julesfest in November (Fri/Sat/Sun of Thanksgiving weekend).
If you’re thinking about stopping by for a visit, they do also have a Farmers Market in town on Saturdays from 9:00-11:00am. And if you stop at the Windmill, take a quick trip across the street to Coffee Girl coffee shop for a drink or a bite to eat. They have amazing lattes!
Also, check out some of the other sites in the area to visit!