Windmill, Pump House, and Milk House
Rising some 40 feet into the air, a windmill was often the most visible symbol of the scope of a farm's operation. By harnessing the force of the wind, these skeletal giants could pump water from the ground that in turn would be used to supply fresh water to livestock, cool tanks where milk awaited shipment to the local dairy, and power machinery used for threshing and milling grain.
Constructed in the early 1910s, the Primrose Farm windmill tower and Goodhue motor were made by Appleton Manufacturing of Batavia. Some time after 1927, the Goodhue motor was replaced by a Challenge 27 sectional wheel windmill, also made in Batavia by the Challenge Company, one of the largest and most successful windmill manufacturers of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Manufactured from 1927 until World War II, the Challenge 27 was the last premium windmill offered by the Challenge Company. A self-oiling, back-geared, steel pumping mill, it was one of the most sought-after windmills of the twentieth century and can still be seen throughout the United States and in many foreign countries. Along with its characteristic vane sheet, it can also be identified by ornamentation on the mills reading, "Challenge 27 Batavia, ILL" in black letters with a red capital "C."
Beneath the windmill sits a pump house that was constructed after the tower was erected sometime in the 1910s, and was used to provide shelter for the well pump and speed jack. Next to the pump house, the farm's concrete milk house furnished a a storage area for milk until it could be picked up by the Riverview Dairy. Built around World War I, the milk house funished a clean, odor-free environment to hold cans of milk that were cooled by water pumped from the windmill. Such a cold-water reservoir system for keeping canned milk or cream chilled was a requirement of the Chicago Dairy Standard. An overflow was then diverted into a trough on the shady north side of the building where livestock were watered. After Ernie Anderson stopped milking cows by hand in 1960, a bulk tank was installed in the frame building next to the silo to cool freshly produced milk.