Texas Windmills: Iconic Technological Beauty Credited With Taming the Wild West

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Credited with making Texas and the west, in general, more inhabitable, as well as improving industry (cattle ranching at the time), the windmill has become a state icon and a Texas Hill Country mainstay on properties that dot this region. Patented in Connecticut (but clearly perfected on its perch in Texas), the windmill is perhaps the most overlooked yet hardest working piece of industry to ever be implemented in the Lone Star State, but it’s more so now due to aesthetics and sentiment that we see these rugged behemoths of a bygone era as opposed to actual need.

Hill Country Windmills: A Texas Icon

Photo: Pixabay

Many a western-style movie shows the windmill doing what many people nowadays believe it does best – look iconic. Very rarely do they ever show an old-timey cowboy setting one up, or knowing what a sucker rod was. The same sadly holds true today, but if it weren’t for these exceptional inventions, much of Texas, including the Hill Country, would have been uninhabitable if it weren’t for that turning wheel operating the gearbox and sucker rods, valves opening and closing, and water being drawn from the ground.

Hill Country Windmills: A Texas Icon

Photo: Facebook/Andy DeBruyn

Today, however, these windmills are pure nostalgia to look at, sitting on their four-legged towering perches, which distant relatives constructed in a day over the family well. Many of these old western technological beauties have blades of galvanized steel, and their predecessors, which we never see today, had wooden ones. Regardless of their existing makeup and functionality, they’re simply picturesque to look at, have been the subject of many a Texas Hill Country painter and photographer, and are the stuff that the slightly romantic-at-heart still like to gaze upon and release a slight sigh of fondness. Their incorporation into the Hill Country horizon is so wonderfully seamless; it’s hard to ever imagine the land without them.

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