1903-1913: The Golden Age of the Dutch Windmill


Located just a few hundred feet from the ocean, the windmill was ideally situated to capitalize on the strong pacific wind. The wind rotated the sails, which were connected to a pump by a long shaft. The pump built up pressure in the well, thereby forcing water to the surface. The water was then pushed along through a 10" main to the reservoir on Strawberry Hill, with runoff being diverted to Model Yacht Lake. Spreckles Lake was built as an additional reservior.

A Dutch Cottage was built next to the windmill. The caretaker of the windmill lived in the brick cottage so that the mill could constantly be monitored and adjusted according to the weather. During storms and strong winds, emergency brakes had to be manually applied by the caretaker to keep the sails from spinning out of control. Old

The Dutch Windmill was immensely successful. So successful, in fact, that by 1905 preparation for a second, larger mill was underway. This second mill became know as the 'Murphy Windmill', after Samual G. Murphy, a wealthy banker who donated $20,000 towards its construction.

Over 2 million trees from all over the world were planted in Golden Gate park, helping establish it as the largest botanical garden in the world at the time. The enormous quanitities of water supplied by the Dutch and Murphy Windmills were esssential in transforming the vast barren sand dunes that once lined San Francisco's coastline into one of the world's greatest man-made parks.

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