“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
King City in Monterey County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Wind Power

Wind Power Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 21, 2013
1. Wind Power Marker
Inscription. “The mouth of this valley opens into Monterey Bay, like a funnel, and the northwest wind from the Pacific draws up through this heated flue with terrible force. Sometimes the wind would nearly sweep us from our mules – it seemed nothing could stand its force."
William Brewer, 1860

Hot, dry afternoons are a Salinas Valley hallmark. However, it was this same wind that enabled early farmers to transform the parched earth into green fields. Windmills were used to harness the wind’s energy. The huge spinning blades activated a gear system which was connected to a shaft. As the shaft moved up and down, water was drawn from deep beneath the earth. Hundreds of gallons of water could be pumped and stored in a pond or tank. When not in use, the windmill’s tail was folded by turning a hand crank at the mill’s base. It was the tail that kept the wheel facing into the wind.

Wind power could be harnessed to run farm machinery as well. In 1877, the U.S. Wind Engine and Pump Company designed a windmill which could be installed on top of a barn! Belts connected the shaft to the machinery inside the building. Monterey County farmer Duncan McKinnnan installed this system on his farm in 1890. His barley crusher, corn mill, barley cleaner, pump and many of his machine and carpentry shop tools were all wind driven!
Wind Power Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 21, 2013
2. Wind Power Marker
36° 12.394′ N, 121° 8.841′ W. Marker is in King City, California, in Monterey County. Marker can be reached from San Lorenzo Park Road, on the left when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: King City CA 93930, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 7 other markers are within 15 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Salinas Valley Cookwagon, c. 1888 / Cookwagon (within shouting distance of this marker); La Gloria Schoolhouse (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); De Anza Expedition 1775-1776 (about 500 feet away); Mission San Antonio de Padua (approx. 0.8 miles away); De Anza Expedition 1775 - 1776 (approx. 14.4 miles away); First Marriage in California (approx. 14.4 miles away); The Hacienda (approx. 14.6 miles away).
More about this marker. This marker is on the grounds of the Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum in San Lorenzo Park.
Categories. Agriculture
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 240 times since then and 82 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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