McHenry County Iconic Windmill Breaks, Falls During Tuesday's Storm

Bernie Tafoya
September 27, 2018 - 1:58 pm

Tom Halat

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A strong storm took out a local piece of McHenry County history Tuesday afternoon, but its owner promises to replace it.

Tom Halat has owned Tom’s Farm Market and Greenhouse since 1976.  The area was all farmland then. Now, he said he's surrounded by houses that are in Huntley and Lake in the Hills. 

His 90-year-old, 90-foot-tall windmill stood out until Tuesday when the storm blew it over.

"There’s a big, like big void," in the landscape, now, Halat said.

He said the 4,000 pound windmill came down as Halat’s 41-year-old daughter, Liz, was trying to get their golden retriever, Bear, inside.

"That windmill went down just 10 feet behind my daughter," Halat said.

Tom Halat

During the fall, Halat said the windmill is part of educational tours for school children.

"We tell them, before there was electricity that the wind powered the pump to pump water for the livestock here," he said.

Halat said an expert from central Illinois has told him there’s no repairing the windmill, so he’ll buy a new or used one.

Tom Halat

"I don’t think it’s insured and, I think to build a new one, it’d probably be about $25,000 to $30,000," he said.

This weekend starts the Farm Market’s fall festival.

Halat hopes to have a new one by next year.