KIENDALLVILLE, IND. (WPTA21)-Used to be you couldn’t swing a stick out in 21 Country without hitting one, those graceful machines harvesting the wind, pumping fresh water from the earth for man and beast. You’ll be hard pressed to find one these days outside of Amish country. Except in the front yard of Doug Grandstaff’s house.
“I started from the ground up with the base on the thing then I added the legs,” he says. “You have in your mind what it’s supposed to look like.”
Doug’s loved windmills since he was a kid so when he bought his home outside Kendallville, found a shed full of junk on the place and decided to put it all to good use…lawn tractor parts, steel pipes, wood four by fours, bike sprockets. He needed a swivel for one mill to rotate on. He found it in an old easy chair.
“I take it up in the shed and I tear off the seat and I take all the stuff apart guess what I got? I got my swivel.” he says.
This one means the most to Doug, he built it to honor the Tuskegee Airmen, black fighter pilots in World War Two. The tails of their planes were painted red.
“You stop and think about the guys that flew…kids,” he says. “It’s amazing what they did you know knew that they may not come back. It’s kinda like I built that in memory for them.”
Doug’s windmills don’t pump water they just spin and rotate, translating gusts of wind into lively, pleasing movement. He tells folks they’re just nice to watch, nothing more. Like that neighbor who dropped by recently.
“The woman asked me ‘do you consider this art?’, he recalls. “No. It’s something that’s fun to sit here and watch something you’ve made that works. ‘Satisfaction.’ Yea.”
Satisfaction putting old junk to good use, something to do in retirement. Paying tribute out in 21 Country to one of mankind’s cleverest creations. This is Eric Olson reporting.