Dalley Windmill Museum
Once billed as the largest privately owned windmill collection in the nation, Bill and Alta Dalley of Portales donated their collection to preserve it for future generations.
The Dalleys collected the relics of the plains over the last 30 years and had amassed over 80 when the county agreed in 2011 to display them in a 12,600 square foot windmill park at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds.
Many of the windmills, dating to the mid-1800s, came from the Roosevelt County area. The Dalleys displayed the collection at their home in Portales for decades and it’s been featured in numerous publications over the years. People from all over the world have visited the collection.
As the Great Plains and in particular the High Plains of eastern New Mexico and west Texas was settled windmills became an essential part of the landscape. With little surface water and no other means of powering a pump, settlers turned to wind power to bring life-giving water to the surface from as deep as 200 feet.
The structures became landmarks to travelers and an oasis on the plains to cattle, cowboys and wild game. With rural electrification in the middle part of the 20th century, electric pumps replaced many windmills.
A few still persist in remote locations without electric power but these days solar powered pumping apparatus is pushing the remaining windmills from the landscape.
The Dalley Windmill Museum is located on the fairgrounds near the intersection of U.S. 70 and Lime Street in northeast Portales. It is visible from U.S. 70 as you enter Portales from the east.