Online Store


Elk Horn's Danish Windmill

The Danish Windmill has become one of the largest tourist attractions in Iowa and each year its popularity grows. Located just off Interstate 80 at Exit 54, Elk Horn, Iowa, it makes for a great stopping place.

Standing tall as a tribute to the Danish immigrants that settled here in the late 1800’s, it is becoming very meaningful to Danish immigrants from all over the nation. The Danes are proud of their heritage, and are happy to see the reminder of their homeland.

It all started when Harvey Sornson came back from a trip to Denmark in the spring of 1975 with an absolutely crazy idea. He wanted to bring a windmill to Elk Horn where the largest rural concentration of the Danes in America had settled. After visiting with many of the local Danes, it was decided there was enough interest to go for it.

In August of 1975, the windmill project took a giant step. Harry Petersen and his wife from Denmark were visiting family in Elk Horn, and became very interested. In September, a letter from Petersen came and said he had located a mill in Nørre Snede, Jutland that could be purchased. Harry’s approximate figures were $11,000 for the mill, $14,000 to dismantle and $8,000 to ship it ocean freight.

Generous donations and pledges started coming in and money was sent to Denmark in early October, just five months after Harvey’s crazy idea was born. Under Petersen’s supervision, the 127-year-old mill was carefully taken down. As they dismantled the mill they carefully numbered each piece and built a scale model of the mill 6 feet high, with each piece of the model numbered to correspond with the actual mill. Each piece of the mill was loaded neatly on a flat bed truck with the model on top. It also included all of the gears, shafts, millstones, scales, and even grain carts. It left Denmark in November of 1975 and arrived in New York the last week in December.

After many unforeseen problems and extra expenses, the load finally arrived on two big trucks on February 4, 1976. The dream had arrived.

It took 1 year, 300 volunteers and $100,000 before the mill was ready for action. A storage building, now used as a gift shop, was also built. It is now one of the largest gift shops of Danish collectibles outside of Denmark. Visitors from all over the world come to see how this Danish Windmill has moved to the rolling hills of Iowa. You can even purchase a bag of fresh ground wheat or rye flour. What a majestic sight on a windy day! Really a dream comes true. For more information, call 1-800-451-7960 or find us at


Contact Info |

The Danish Windmill

P.O. Box 245, 4038 Main
Elk Horn, Iowa 51531
(712) 764-7472