Cattlemen restore pioneer-era windmills

Close up of a windmill.
A windmill stands in a field.

A pioneer-era windmill installed at a well on Crooked River National Grassland, recently restored by members of the Gray
Butte Grazing Association. Courtesy photo

MADRAS, Ore. – Volunteers from the Gray Butte Grazing Association have restored a pair of pioneer-era windmills to their original places above the Crooked River National Grassland.

The windmills are believed to date back to the late 1800’s, when pioneers maintained homesteads on the rolling hills just south of Madras.

Both windmills are visible from Highway 26 and are some of the last reminders of that history still visible on the landscape.

Before the restoration, years of exposure had taken their toll, said Tory Kurtz, rangeland management specialist for the Ochoco National Forest and Crooked River National Grassland. The windmills chained to keep them from spinning, and some of the blades were missing.

After a windstorm in 2013, the public took notice and the cattlemen began making plans to restore the windmills. Thanks to their efforts, the windmills have been returned to their original places above the Joe Weigand Well and Dalton Grant Well, and are the last two working windmills on the grassland.

By Patrick Lair, Ochoco National Forest and Crooked River National Grasslands PAO

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