Windmill Museum–Lubbock, TX Windmill, Lubbock, Museum

After dinner move onto the expansive dance floor, which offers plenty of room for two-steppin’ with your loved ones. Travel down any Texas highway, regardless of direction, arlington texas cost of living season or time of day, and you’ll pass a windmill. The windmill is the workhorse of arid lands, independent but dependable, and ubiquitous as a fence post.

We wondered if a breeze through the building might set the blades in motion, turning the museum into a human slice-and-dice. “A wind that big would rip the roof off,” she said, implying that windmills would be the least of our concerns. At the present time, there are more than a hundred rare and historic water pumping windmills displayed inside. Another sixty windmills are erected on the grounds with many pumping water.

People didn’t know what it was, or just how cool an experience it could be – we convinced them to rename it the American Windmill Museum. This new brand included a logo and some initial materials, as well as photography of their grounds. An interactive display of wind machines and wind related artifacts spanning a time period from 1620 to present day. Use RoadsideAmerica.com’s Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip. For $3,500 you can purchase a new, full-size windmill in the American Windmill Museum gift shop, 19 feet tall.

The center was established in 1993 by Miss Billie Wolfe and Coy F. Harris. Wolfe, a faculty member at Texas Tech University, began searching for windmills in the early 1960s. She photographed and documented windmills across the nation and encouraged people to save what windmills were still standing. Thirty years later, there had been several individuals who had restored a number of early mills and Wolfe located one of these in Mitchell, Nebraska. By this time, Harris was working with Wolfe and he arranged, disassembled and moved this collection of forty-eight rare windmills to Lubbock. With its West Texas essence and rustic atmosphere, this venue is perfect for any company party or special event.

Renewable energy may be chic, but that isn’t why America merits a windmill museum. She liked old windmills, and thought they deserved a museum because prairie settlers couldn’t have survived without them. “The First Lady of the Windmill” died in 1997, months before the museum opened, and years before windmills revived as one of America’s desperate post-oil hopes — as wind turbines. In 2009, the museum unveiled a 5,500-square-foot mural on a 34-foot -tall space stretching 172 feet long. The massive painting highlights the history of windmills from the West Texas perspective, from water-pumping structures to wind-powered generators.

The American Windmill Museum displays its own working wind turbine , the first within a U.S. city limit. It towers over dozens of older windmills scattered across the museum grounds, their wheels rhythmically creaking in the West Texas breeze (Lubbock is one of the windiest cities in the U.S.). A side room contains the world’s largest windmill mural, 34 feet high and 172 feet long. A 15-minute recorded narration tells its story, augmented with dramatic lighting and sound effects. It took over two years to complete, showcases lots of windmills in an old-timey Texas setting, and doesn’t include any tornadoes. This impression is heightened in the museum’s giant room of windmills, over 100 of them, packed blade-to-blade in a kind of Steampunk vision of mechanical single-mindedness.

Lubbockites are welcome to see if they can find Santa Claus and his reindeer, count the windmills and the trains. Museum development director Glenn Patton walked us outside to look at the huge, turbine. With every turn of the blade it slowly generates energy and amortizes its hefty installation cost. Glenn regaled us with details about its hydraulics and yaw, but what we wanted to know was how many rungs were in the ladder to the top.

Lubbock’s American Windmill Musuem celebrates the windmill and the history of wind power by offering visitors a look at over 150 wooden and metal windmills and wind turbines. The museum is a windmill lover’s paradise, spanning the history of the American windmill from the early Halladays, with their collapsing wheels and draft horse counterweights, to a giant megawatt wind turbine. Among the twenty-eight acres of spinning wheels across the Center’s grounds, the beautifully restored wooden Axtell Standard is a particular standout.

The museum displays a couple of barbed wire bird nests, found on windmills on the treeless prairie. As for live birds, Glenn told us that they haven’t been bothered by the 160+ windmills at the museum — not even the turbine. “If you’ve ever been in a car that hit a bird, you’ve killed more than we have.” In addition to the village display, the museum’s store is doing a 12 Days of Christmas Countdown featuring unique gift opportunities in its store.

The museum is truly a gem – with grounds and collection worthy of the national park service, we felt it should be promoted as such. I designed and assisted in producing a poster in the WPA style they could use in their promotion and in their gift shop. These windmills remained in storage until 1997, when the City of Lubbock authorized an area of land for the museum. Windmills were erected on the grounds and inside a modest exhibit building. Although we were unfortunately unable to rename the event, we were able to make some supporting materials for the fifteenth annual gala at the newly rebranded center. The event was the best attended to date and the center raised thousands of dollars for the continued preservation of the windmills that helped build West Texas.

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