VOICE OF THE WIND
Travel down any Texas highway, regardless of direction, 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. Lubbock’s American Windmill Musuem (formerly the American Wind Power Center) 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. The American Windmill Musuem is the culmination of efforts by the late Billie Wolfe, a faculty member of Texas Tech’s College of Home Economics and self-appointed windmill researcher and CEO of Wind Engineering Corporation (and Lubbock native) Coy Harris. Among the twenty-eight acres of spinning wheels across the Center’s grounds, the beautifully restored wooden Axtell Standard is a particular standout. The slender blades of the twenty-two and a half-foot, hand-wrought wheel, once a routine sight across Texas farms of the early 1900s, capture light in lacey rotations and when in motion sounds like the voice of the wind.
In 2016 a 33,000-square foot building was added to the complex. The relationship between the railroads and windmills of the 1800’s is celebrated with a 6,600-square-foot model train layout where 3D printed windmills and custom built houses illustrate the interaction between the railroads and windmills.