American Wind Power Center is Lubbock’s windmill museum. The extensive collection of vintage windmill’s is the largest US collection that I’m aware off. This is my second visit. My first visit was in June of 2005. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable.
In 2005, the modern electricity producing windmill shown below was in the process of being installed. Only the mount or base for the windmill was in place. The mount, a large round concrete pad, had a number of mounting bolts to bolt the windmill tower to. Standing under such a large windmill is truly awe inspiring. To get an idea of the difference in scale between today’s modern large windmills and the windmills from the Nineteenth Century, look at the older windmills in the background.
It is really difficult to have a good sense for the scale of these large windmills. To help visitors understand the scale, there is a large modern windmill on the ground. Visitors can walk around the propeller and hub and stand next to the generator housing. The above windmill’s generator housing is shown below.
I am fascinated by windmills made between 1880 and 1940 used for pulling groundwater to the surface. It seems like there are examples of every make and model of windmill made in the US. Many have been restored to like new condition. Some windmills are installed at ground level. Other windmills like the following one are installed below the floor so that the windmill head is at eye level.
Brightly colored windmills abound. You can see difference in floor level and where some of the windmill towers are anchored below floor level. This works brilliantly to help us see the whole windmill close enough to really get a sense for how they work.
A brightly colored outside windmill.
I’ve never seen a two-headed windmill out in the wild. This must not be the winning windmill design approach.
We often attribute agricultural development to effective low cost windmills such as the Aermotor, my personal favorite. However, windmills were also used by railroads to pump the water needed for steam engines. Additionally, agriculture needs transport to markets so a secondary impact of windmill fanned agricultural development was railroad growth.
To celebrate the linkage between windmills and railroads, the American Wind Power Center has an impressive G (Garden) Scale train layout that is sure to please. The layout is unusually large and detailed. Multiple trains all run around the track at the same time under computer control.
Additionally, there are a series of miniature (doll) houses in display cases that have amazing levels of detail. None of my pictures could do justice to the miniature houses so I opted not to include them.
Finally, there is an enormous mural of amazing detail. One of the docents explained to me that people pictured in the mural are (paid and volunteer) current and past staff members. What follows is a small portion of the mural.