The wooden Eclipse windmill was given to the museum by Harold Ritter. The windmill dates from the 1890s and was in Burnett Township on land owned by Fred and Louise Ritter, grandparents of Harold. His parents were William and Margretha Ritter, who also farmed that land where Harold has lived for many years.
The windmill originally sat on a tower some 20 feet tall. Harold shortened the tower to be able to store the windmill safely. This windmill has even been in parades! Now it is visible from the highway through the large window of the museum. Visitors to the museum can walk around it and visualize how it must have looked on the farmstead in its early glory.
The era of the wooden windmill in the Midwest began just after the Civil War when homesteaders needed to pump water in upland areas away from rivers and streams. Before this, hand dug wells with a winch, rope and bucket were common.