Windmills find new home

Alisa Boswell

Roosevelt County is bringing a new addition to the county fairgrounds in the form of a 12,600 square foot windmill park.

Longtime Portales residents Bill and Alta Dalley, who have collected old-fashioned windmills for the last 30 years, now have more than 80 windmills stored at their home on South Kilgore in Portales.

“When we mentioned we were getting rid of them, some of the kids and grandkids got upset cause they said it wouldn’t be home without the windmills,” Bill Dalley said, laughing. “The kids are wanting to keep them within the county and close to home.”

The windmill collection is not being moved far since the couple has donated it to Roosevelt County, which will turn the collection into a 12,600 square foot windmill park at the county fairgrounds. The display will be located between the event center and the Jake Lopez building and is due to open by February of next year.

Roosevelt County Commissioner Bill Cathey, who helped decide the location for the windmill park, said the county hopes to have enough of the fence for the area built by August to be able to bring one or two windmills over before the county fair.

“I think it’s going to make the county and the fairgrounds a more interesting and attractive place,” Cathey said. “We hope it will be a good tourist attraction for this area. Windmills are a big part of New Mexico history. I’m just glad I got to have a part in getting this collection over there.”

Cathey said he and Bill Dalley will be rebuilding eight of the windmills, giving them 14-foot towers.

Dalley said he and his wife plan to keep the first windmill he collected, dating back to 1909. He said two other windmills will be given to his grandchildren and the rest will be donated to the county.

“When he’d first bring them in, he’d have them in parts and pieces,” Alta Dalley said of her husband’s collecting. “It was like putting a puzzle together. He’d arrange them so nicely that I ended up becoming just as proud of them.”

Alta said the thing she will miss most about the windmills is showing them to people.

The couple said people from all over the U.S. and some from other countries, have stopped to look at the windmills and take pictures.

“I think even more people will be able to see them from the highway,” Alta said. “We want them kept for historical purposes.”

“Most of the mills have come from within Roosevelt County so we wanted to be able to keep them here,” Bill added. “We’re pleased that the county will take them.”