The Holidays are Better in Kendallville - 2011

By Eric Olson
By Maureen Mespell

November 30, 2011 Updated Nov 30, 2011 at 5:54 PM EST

KENDALLVILLE, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--“You’re not going too slow or too fast. Oh, okay!”

It’s a labor of love on this crisp fall morning at Kendallville’s Mid-America Windmill Museum. A small army of volunteers is decking out the place in Christmas holiday cheer. The light show these decorations create is always the talk of the town, in part because the clunky, wind blown machines this museum celebrates helped build Kendallville, and helped create Christmas memories for local families going back 150 years.

It’s rare for a town Kendallville’s size to claim one world class company. Kendallville sported two, McCray Refrigerator and across town the Flint and Walling Company, one hundred years ago the second largest builder of windmills in the world…the machines that pulled water from hundreds of feet below ground making farming possible for settlers on America’s water starved great plains.

“Without the windmill the west would have taken a lot longer to settle,” says historian Tom Burke, “because the steam engines needed water. So to put railroads other than along a river, they had to have a mill.”

Flint and Walling employed thousands of workers. It was a stellar corporate citizen for years, throwing elaborate holiday parties for employees, sponsoring numerous charity drives and in general setting the tone of holiday celebration in Kendallville that rings to this day. Flint and Walling’s still in business making electric pumps. And though it’s a shadow of what it was to this community, the holidays are still just a little better in Kendallville, because of a company that nurtured real family values, as it helped civilize the great American frontier.




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