When thinking of the Texas panhandle, what image first comes to mind? Windmills, of course. So it makes sense that Lubbock is where you will find the largest collection of windmills in the world housed under one roof at the American Windmill Museum.
A Model Railroad Complete with Miniatures
The railroad industry relied heavily on windmills during the steam engine era. Which is why this is one of the first exhibits on display. It may be one of the best model train scenes I have ever seen.
The details in the miniatures placed throughout the display are impressive. It was designed to look like Lubbock during the heyday of railroads and windmills. Many trains are coming and going through the town, Thomas the Tank Engine even makes an appearance. They have a large spiral ramp the trains climb up and travel high above the room.
After wandering around the train scene you can check out the rest of the miniature collection. There are some very cool pieces on display. The kids each had their favorite, but Journey could have stayed in that area all day.
Millstones and Windmills Go Hand in Hand
In the next room you will find a large collection of millstones. Here you will learn some interesting facts about the differences in each stone. Every stone had a unique cut, which was made to grind different materials. Some were used to make wheat, but that’s not all, they milled rye, oats, and even paint pigments. There was a huge variety of materials that needed to be ground by millstones.
This was actually a huge industry in America’s early days. The job of cutting the stones was very precise and required much skill. Not many men could do the job, which made it high demand. It was windmills that turned these stones in order to grind what was needed. Make sure to watch the short video by the collection to learn more.
An Impressive Windmill Collection
This museum claims to have the largest windmill collection in the world and once you walk in to their main display room it would be hard to refute. There are windmills of all shapes and sizes on display.
Many company’s were selling windmill building kits in the early 1900’s to small farms and landowners. Here you can view some of these rare artifacts. Some windmills had tails that would allow them to change direction with the wind. Others had multiple rows of blades that gave more power. It was amazing to see there are so many differences in these fairly simple machines.
As you enter the meeting room you will find the walls covered in a detailed mural. This mural has some amazing details found in it. We were given a list when we arrived of items to search for within the mural. Our family enjoyed this search and find game which helps encourage you to look closely at the painting.
In the mural you will find a timeline. In each section of time there are windmills being used. It gives a great example, especially for children, of how necessary windmills are. These are machines that we still use even now.
Outdoor Windmill Walk
Before you leave make sure and take the outdoor windmill walk. Here is where you will get a chance to see a replica of the first windmill ever built in the US. It’s fun getting a chance to stand next to a windmill and get an idea of it’s size. They even had a modern windmill in pieces to check out. These things are massive, each blade weighs 2000 pounds.
Getting a chance to see these things up close and personal is a unique experience. We usually see them as we are driving 60mph down the interstate. Because they are such an important part of the Texas panhandle and it’s history I was glad to visit this museum at the source.
This place definitely gets a family friendly thumbs up from us. It was inexpensive to go and with their family deal it makes it very affordable. The kids loved exploring the model train Lubbock, and we all got to learn some interesting facts about windmills. If you get to check it out we’d love to hear what you thought, leave us a comment.
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