On May 5, 2001, the village of Fulton officially opened the majestic De Immigrant, the 100-foot tall Dutch windmill overlooking the Mississippi River. Built in the Netherlands and reconstructed piece-by-piece by native craftspersons, De Immigrant marked its grand opening by grinding wheat, corn, and other grains. In other words, in a sort of practical and hardworking manner that many people associate with the Dutch.
An oft-overlooked immigrant group, the Dutch nonetheless settled large areas of Illinois, with large numbers in south Chicago suburbs like South Holland and Lansing, and in the Chadwick-Fulton-Morrison-Albany corridor near or along the Mississippi. Fulton celebrates its Dutch Days Festival every spring—the 2017 edition starts today, in fact—and if you’re feeling benout, you should attend. There’s all the Klompen dancing you could want, in addition to Hindeloopen painting, costumes, tulips galore, and a chance to pick up that pair of wooden shoes you’ve had your eye on. The windmill is a centerpiece of the festivities.