Things to Do

Who Were Effie & Wylie? Find Clues at the Mysterious Stone Windmill

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Tony Maples Photography


Just down from the trailhead at Austin’s Johnson Creek Hike & Bike trail is a mysterious structure. Although its relevance is obvious, its background and story are likely locked away forever. Now restored, the stone windmill proudly features the names of Effie Cara and Wylie Wilson Bennett carved above the entry, but all other details are erased beyond the interior’s rusted pipes. Play a game with family and friends to image how this area looked in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and how people would utilize the natural resources such as stone and water flow to establish a home!

Those who are using the trail may walk inside to view the windmill’s construction and scaffolding, all of which is limestone. Nearby, there is a stone slab and a retaining wall; it is possible this wall and the windmill were built at roughly the same time. About 20 feet tall, the windmill was part of the Greenbelt when the City of Austin acquired it in 1977. As last reported, there are two geocaches here: one physical, GC1BQVY Urban Windmill, and one virtual, GC4DF2 Spinning in the wind. Be sure to mark down your find!

Who Were Effie & Wylie? Find Clues at the Mysterious Stone Windmill

Photo: envato elements

To explore the Johnson Creek trail, begin at the corner of Enfield Road and Mopac. The GPS coordinates are 30.2846, -97.7657. About 100 yards down the trail, the windmill appears. When finished checking out this spot, the rest of the overall 1.11 miles of trail is paved and considered an easy walk. Do be aware that at certain points, the trail goes through a tunnel as well as under a bridge; traffic noise will also be a constant. Despite this, the City of Austin has spent careful time and dollars to make this an outdoor space for all visitors to enjoy. Bikes and dogs are permitted on this trail.