Windmills of Washington State


Mock mills

As far as I can tell, there are no real windmills in Washington State. However, as a state with a large Dutch immigrant population, there are a number of areas that have chosen to celebrate their historical ties, and to build fake windmills, with varying levels of attention to detail.

Marymoor Park, Redmond

This is not a particularly accurate representation of a windmill, particularly as regards the sails which have a strange circular fitting at their centre. There are reports that the mill was once functional, and used to pump water for the historic Clise Mansion, though that looks unlikely with its current sails. (The mill is however ideally situated to hide the electric pumps that could well have done the pumping!)

As it's located just down the road from Microsoft's headquarters, it's interesting to note that it's used as a sample image many times in the documentation for Microsoft's Digital Image Suite - presumably the authors just nipped out to the local area to get photos when they were writing these instructions.

Update: Dec 2003 A historical photo that I've only recently become aware of shows the building adjacent to the river, and indeed with apparently more realistic sails, so perhaps the building was historically driven by wind. A long shot of the farm in the same collection is hand dated as 1914, and shows the mill at its far right hand side.

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Windmill de Wijn - Lynden

Lynden is a particularly strongly themed Dutch town, and features an outwardly acurate looking windmill as a corner pin of its main street.

"Windmill de Wijn" was constructed in 1987, to the design of Robert Libolt, with Craig Engels as construction superintendant, Doug Campbell as engineer, and with fabrication by Lynden Sheet Metal. That last reference should give you a clue that all is not as it seems - much of the structure substitutes metal where wood might have been expected - for example the sails are exclusively metal.

Inside the building, the ground floor is run as a gift shop full of all sorts of Dutch and windmill themed items, whilst the upper 3 floors are run as The Dutch Village Inn hotel, with bedrooms in the mill body (including large hot tubs - so the structure does need to hold a lot of weight). The mill is variously described as "working", which means only that the sails are rotated by a motor daily until 10pm - with lights outlining them to make them quite a sight at night.

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Windmill Motel - Lynden

A representational windmill atop this motel on the main road just outside of Lynden.

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Lynden - other windmills

As you might expect, there are all manner of small windmills to be found scattered around this Dutch themed town. Some of these are mere "garden ornaments" whereas others represent many hours of construction.

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Oak Harbor - Beach Park

A free standing replica windmill stands near the beach at Oak Harbor.

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Oak Harbor - Auld Holland Inn

This hotel has a somewhat fanciful windmill shaped landmark tower. There is also a waterwheel on another part of the hotel fantasy structure.

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Wind engines

These are at least devices that really worked using wind power.

Wind Turbines

Wind power is beginning to be utilized in Washington State for both small scale and potentially large scale applications to generate electricity.

Other mills in Washington State

Cedar Creek watermill

This mill dates from 1876 (though has been rebuild substantially since). It occupies a most picturesque site along side a recently constructed covered bridge, and is able to grind.

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Cider mill - Camlann

Camlann is a reconstructed medieval village, a short drive inland from Seattle. A recent addition to the village is a horse or animal powered cider mill. This consists of a large edge runner stone which rotates in a trough to crush apples ready to be squeezed to make cider.

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Last updated 03/03/2017 Text and images © Mark Berry, 1997-2017 -