There are two windmills in San Francisco in beautiful Golden Gate Park. The Dutch or Northern Windmill is presented here, and the other one is called the Murphy or Southern Windmill. They were built here in the 1870s and 1880s to pump groundwater for park irrigation.
This side of town was once sand dunes. When Golden Gate Park was designed some people at the time couldn’t imagine a park could be built on what was nothing but shifting sand. The windmills were the answer for irrigation. In 1903 this windmill was completed and pumped 30,000 gallons of water per hour, it was a solution to the high price of purchasing water from the local water company. Five years later the other windmill was functioning, and pumping an additional 40,000 gallons of water to the park.
Although they were the solution for the park at that time, in 1913 electric water pumps replaced the mills. Over the years the windmills became defunct and eventually fell into disrepair.
But as it goes in many places around the world, a group of people decided to restore the windmills. They raised the money and now, a century later, we have a quiet gathering place for tourists, bicyclists, walkers, joggers, and picnickers to enjoy. While in San Francisco a few weeks ago, I decided to visit the windmill to see if the tulip display was in bloom.
This windmill is a three minute walk from the Great Highway, a thoroughfare that parallels the Pacific Ocean. Tulips, poppies, monarch butterflies, a white-crowned sparrow, and a fresh ocean breeze joined me on this sunny tour. And now my blogging buddies have joined me too. Thank you!
Photos and text: Jet Eliot