Day Trips: The Windmill Farm and Bed & Breakfast, Tolar

Take a spin and maybe stay for a spell


Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

The Windmill Farm and Bed & Breakfast outside of Tolar combines the history of wind-driven power with comfortable country cabins.

Chuck and Ruby Rickgauer's first windmill began churning the sky on their property in 1992. It was an Aermotor Model 702 built around 1933 that came from the farm in South Dakota where Ruby grew up.

A UT engineering graduate and former naval officer, Chuck figures that he has rebuilt at least 376 antique windmills. Some went back to work pumping water while others got retirement homes as ornamental relics. Chuck says he has retired from restoring old windmills.


During the early 20th century, windmills were a labor-saving device for farmers and ranchers. Most have the familiar metal blades like giant daisies, while others have wooden slates that fold up when not turning in the wind. There's even one that Chuck designed from an oil drum and car parts.

The variety represents the many companies that once manufactured the machines. Sears & Roebuck and Montgomery Ward sold the motors for under $50.

Self-driving tours through the private park are free and come with a guide describing the 31 windmills left in Chuck's collection that showcase the incredible versatility of windmill design.


If you'd like to spend the night, the wind farm offers two one-bedroom cabins and one three-bedroom cabin. Ruby prepares breakfast for each cabin that is surrounded by the magnificent wind machines.

"Nobody who has spent the night has ever complained about the noise of the windmills," Chuck says.

The Windmill Farm and Bed & Breakfast is north of Tolar, and about five miles south of Granbury off US-377. Give Chuck or Ruby a call at 254/835-4168 or check out the photos at thewindmillfarm.com.


1,573rd in a series. Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog, at austinchronicle.com/daily/travel.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Windmill Farm, Tolar, Chuck Rickgauer, Ruby Rickgauer

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