Eye on KELOLAND: The Windmill Man


JASPER, Minn. (KELO) — A hobby farm in southwest Minnesota has fans blowing in from all over.

That’s because the ten acres north of Jasper, Minnesota, are filled with rare windmills.

If you have the energy, head to southwest Minnesota and find renewal in this peaceful country setting.

“We get a lot of compliments. People take a lot of pictures and send them to us,” Terry Rodman said.

This small portion of land belongs to Terry and Kris Rodman. And if you haven’t noticed already, the married couple of 33 years has quite the collection nestled off of Highway 23 north of Jasper.

“The looks of them when we started. Now it’s a challenge of finding odd ones,” Terry said.

43 windmills are up at the property, some from the 1800s, and 50 are waiting to be repaired across the road.

Matt Holsen: How do you come across this many windmills?

Kris: He works at it. We drive around a lot.

It’s a hobby that keeps going and going.

Matt Holsen: Do you think he’s crazy for having all these?

Kris: Eh… no… (laughing)

While Kris thinks the pieces have certainly piled up over the years, Terry, a retired welder, says his passion actually started with a request from his better half.

Matt Holsen: So it’s your wife’s fault?

Terry: Yes, right. Hadn’t been for that Dutch windmill, we wouldn’t have started.

“I like the Dutch one just because I’m half Dutch. He built that big Dutch one because I wanted a little Dutch one. He said, ‘If we’re going to have a windmill, we’re going to have a windmill,'” Kris said.

Standing dozens of feet high, it’s quite the sight. You can even go inside the building Terry built from scratch. Neighbors took notice and from there, more requests came blowing in.

“Come and get mine. The other one, come and get mine. It just grew from there,” Terry said.

Some of them sitting on the banks of Split Rock Creek are rare…

“That’s an odd one. There’s only two of them in the country,” Terry said.

Many of them come from places all over the world including China and Brazil.

“That one comes from the Netherlands and it is so different, it took me all winter to figure out how it goes back together because they took it apart, cut it up and put it in a box to get it here,” Terry said.

Not all of these took a pretty penny to acquire but windmill shopping can send you down an expensive path.

“Sometimes we get them for nothing but otherwise they cost us $20,000,” Terry said.

“It adds up but don’t most hobbies,” Kris said.

It’s a hobby the Rodmans are happy to share. Kris says roughly 150 visitors stop by every year for a scheduled tour and others just pull over to shoot the breeze.

“Quite often yes or slow down if nothing else but they’ll stop,” Kris said.

She’s become an expert tour guide and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Good to go. That’s what they’re here for. That’s why it’s nice to be on Highway 23,” Kris said.

The stockpile isn’t slowing down and neither is the couple. Both are 74 years old but say there’s no limit for the growing farm. Terry’s interest won’t be fading into the wind any time soon.

“Double fan one down here is probably most people’s favorite. It’s got two fans. One goes right and one goes left and goes into a center gear box,” Terry said.

Centered on providing a fun space for themselves and guests, work will continue spinning here. Kris says her kids even encourage them to keep building.

“It’s called, so who’s going to take care of it when we’re not able. That’s the next problem, but we just take one day at a time,” Kris said.

Round and around… and we’re thankful because we’re big fans.

If you’d like to schedule a tour, contact the couple at KRodman@frontier.com.

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