Building Description Hawkeye Valley Mill, Wessington Springs South Dakota

The Hawkeye Valley Mill, constructed in 1894, is a two-story wood frame building with an interior windmill tower in the northern half of the building. It is a small gable roof building built with post construction and board-and-batten siding. The windmill tower is built with wood beam legs and cross braces, and it has the remnant of a Monitor W-Series wheel and gear box. The Hawkeye Valley Mill was historically used to shell corn, grind feed, sharpen tools, and pump water. The original wheel was a Challenge Single Header wood wheel that was replaced in the late 1930s or early 1940s when it was converted to a pump mill. The mill is located in Anina Township, Jerauld County, south of the town of Wessington Springs, in the Hawkeye Valley of the Wessington Hills, and just northwest of Firesteel Creek. It sits within a irregularly-shaped grassed area in the far northeast corner of the southeast quarter of Section 23, Township 106N, Range 65W, and is surrounded by a small woodlot to the north, a row of trees to the west, a small creek running south through the area, and cultivated fields on all sides. There is a highly-deteriorated outbuilding and two half-buried antique cars directly to the west of the mill. Though not definitive, it is likely there was no residence in that quarter-section as indicated by the 1909 county atlas.

The Hawkeye Valley Mill has suffered somewhat from its abandonment over an extended period of time. It does have missing doors, weather-exposed siding and shingles, a broken wheel, and only partial interior machinery. However, it does have integrity of design with its internal wind tower enclosed within the barn building; of location and setting in an agricultural landscape; of feeling and association through that landscape and the utilitarian character of the building; and integrity of materials and workmanship for the majority of the structure that remains. Most were demolished or dramatically altered after gasoline and electric-powered equipment made them obsolete.

The Hawkeye Valley Mill is a two-story wood frame building with an interior windmill. The simple rectangular building is approximately fourteen feet by eighteen feet in area and is approximately eighteen feet high at the gable peak. It has a gable roof with wood shingles and open eaves, post construction, four board-and-batten walls with molded battens, and board-and-batten gable ends that are lapped over the walls. In the northern half of the building, there is an interior wooden windmill rising through the roof above the building.

On the east elevation, there is an entrance on the northern side of the first floor, there are two square openings centered on the first and second floors, and there are two small circular holes cut out of the southern side of the second floor. There is some siding missing beneath the square opening on the first floor. On the north elevation, there is a square opening located centrally just below the gable end; part of the machinery of the mill is still located within that opening. Some of the boards are deteriorated at the base of this elevation. On the west elevation, there is a large opening on the southern side of the second floor that used to have double doors, and there is a square opening on the southern side of the first floor. On the south elevation, there is a door-sized opening on the eastern side of the second floor and one door hinge remains attached to the wall.

The interior on the first floor currently has a dirt floor (drifted dirt has covered the base of the building), and the bottom of the windmill takes up most of the space. None of the walls are finished on the interior. Stairs on the northwestern corner lead up to the second floor. The second floor has a wood tongue-and-groove floor, board partitions in the southwest and northeast corners, and a remaining portion of a chute on the southern end of the building is all that is left of the machinery above ground. It is possible that drifting soil has covered other pieces of the mill's workings as it has the building's foundation.

The windmill is located in the northern half of the building and is entirely wood post and beam construction, excepting the wheel itself which has a gear box, remnant vane, steel band, five arms, and two partial blades. The tower is constructed with legs of 6" x 6" square posts using 2" x 6" cross-braces. The remaining crankshaft is made of wood pieces secured together and bolted at the second floor to a large lever that extends out the window frame on the north wall. The tower itself has vertical wood board siding and a small square platform just below the apex; some of this siding and platform have deteriorated.

In 1990, Margaret Schmidt completed an oil painting of the mill to capture its appearance around the 1920s. She used oral history done with Lawrence Dusek and other older community members who remembered the features of the mill. It indicates that the Hawkeye Valley Mill had a board door in a wood surround on the northern side of the east elevation, two four-pane square wood windows centered on the first and second floors of the east elevation, and a batten door on the second floor of the south elevation. The original 14-foot vaneless sectional-wheel windmill had six sections of thin blades and two small wood wheels on either side of the gear box that directed the rotation of the wheel head. The painting also indicates that grain was unloaded from wagons into double doors on the west side of the building, and water was pumped into a tank on the north side. The original wheel was replaced in the late 1930s or 1940s with the smaller steel solid-wheel Monitor WC Series, which was responsible only for pumping water.