On the prairies of North America, wind and water were pervasive, but whereas wind was tangible, water in quantity was hidden beneath the surface. The vast grasslands fed great herds of animals, which in turn sustained Native Americans, but it was not until water could be brought to the surface that the plains could be cultivated and developed into a great agricultural bread-basket for the growing nation. The self-governing windmill forever changed the culture of this vast region.
In Windmill Tales, in nearly one hundred beautiful full-color images, photographer Wyman Meinzer shows American windmills as they appear today. Many of them are still working, and others have fallen or are preserved at the American Wind Power Center in Lubbock, Texas, but all illustrate the way of life that was made possible by the windmill.
Brief reminiscences and stories told by visitors to the American Wind Power Center give the reader a sense of the central importance of windmills in the lives of early pioneers in the West. Some of the stories reflect the sense of humor ranch and farm families developed to help them through hard times, whereas others hint at disappointment and tragedy. Together with the photographs they give us a fascinating insight into our history.
Coy F. Harris is executive director of the American Wind Power Center.
Wyman Meinzer, official photographer of the State of Texas, has published more than fifteen books, including Great Lovely Places of the Texas Plains, Desert Sanctuaries: The Chinatis of the Big Ben, Canyons of the Texas High Plains, The Roadrunner, and Coyote.