In the eastern part of the country, in food-industrial centres such as Debrecen, there were about 100 mills operating around 1860. Most of them were so-called dry mills driven by animals, but there were some windmills and – as a curiosity- some smaller water mills over the Tócó stream which had more water flow in those days.
The building was erected in 1864 under the name of Barcsay windmill, later known as the Hortobágy mill, the biggest windmill of Central Europe. It is interesting because in those years the usage of steam mills was more common. It was modernized in 1898 under the supervision of Mór Parragh. Then the role of steam engines was taken over by gas generated engines in 1929. The latter ones did not require the sails of the windmill, so unfortunately, they were removed, though it would be a nice attraction now.
The beginning of the end:
The once proud windmill and the two, several-storey buildings were emptied. The smaller buildings earlier belonging to the mill were demolished. A petrol station and blocks of flats were built on their spots, but they only emphasized the greatness of the windmill tower. The tower and the building parallel with Böszörményi Street are under Art Relic Protection as parts of the National Heritage.
The utilization of the art relic building was almost insolvable, as usual. It was about to become a milling or food industry museum, but there was no money- especially after the end of communism- for it. In the era of privatization, the building became privately owned and in the new millennium, it was renovated from the outside. There was not enough money to restore the interior, especially because the inner structure of the industrial building was not suitable for anything else.
After many years, the authorities unwillingly agreed to let it be altered, so the inner, seven-storey wooden structure was unfolded and the remaining machinery was also removed. On 20 August 2013, on the apropos of the Flower Carnival, the four-star Malom Hotel was opened with EU support.
The hotel has seven floors. In the tower there is a spiral ramp staircase with a panoramic glass lift. The rooms were created in the former granary, accommodating altogether 44 guests. The staircase and the rooms are decorated with period pictures, building site drawings, sketches. On the ground floor there is a restaurant with a wooden structure and decoration commemorating the original mill interior.