What role did the windmill play in American history? Tonya Meadows, director of marketing at the American Wind Power Center, joins the Front Row to give us a tour and rundown of the center's history.
How did the American Wind Power Center begin?
We just recently changed our name to the American Windmill Museum to better reflect who and what we are. Since we’re doing that I’m not getting as many calls wondering if we manufacture wind turbans. That quite often was a phone call that I got. The museum was actually started in 1993 by a lady who was a teach in the home economics department at Texas Tech…she had a passion for preserving windmills for future generations to understand about them.
She learned about a gentleman in Nebraska who had 45 very rare, very unique windmills and he was being forced to sell them. So the Smithsonian was trying to get their hands on a couple of them but they weren’t interested in the whole collection.
So she went to him and made him an offer for $250 thousand for the whole collection and he agreed to that. She came home and she formed a 501c3 and started fundraising in order to be able to pay for the windmills and then she hired my boss and his job was to go to Nebraska and take the windmills apart, put them on pallets, bring them here, because we had no place to put them…
Take a peek around that corner, there’s over 100 windmills in this room. There’s over 70 outside and there’s probably another 25 or 30 in the other building that we opened in June of 2016. And we’re not through putting windmills up in that building.
This is an astonishing mural in this room. How did this come about?
We knew we wanted to do something to decorate this area because we rent this space out for weddings and anniversaries and all kinds of parties and stuff. We knew we wanted to do something, to kind of give it a flare and so we pitched it out to the Lubbock art community, because we knew we wanted it to be local. We said, “Sunrise to sunset, the life of a windmill.” Give me an idea of what you would do with this space.
This was not the original rendition, but it starts with the sunrise over there with the old dutch style of windmill and then it comes all the way around to the harvest moon.
Listen to the full interview at the top of the article.