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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Mountain View in Santa Clara County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Star Steel Windmill

 
 
Star Steel Windmill Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Baker, September 27, 2021
1. Star Steel Windmill Marker
Inscription.  
This windmill was the very last to stand at its original location in Mountain View — behind the residence at 944 San Leandro Avenue. It was purchased in 1936 from the Geo. W. Sohler & Son Company at 550 California Street. The 8-foot diameter mill is supported by a 30-foot steel tower with a pump installed at the bottom of the well, which was drilled 30 feet below the surface. The windmill was made by Flint & Walling Manufacturing Co. of Kendallville, Indiana. Total cost for the purchase and installation of the windmill in 1936 was $300 (approximately $5,000 in 2016 dollars).

The Immigrant Story

German immigrants Karl and Emilie Gabler installed this windmill to supply power to pump groundwater into a large redwood storage tank atop their house, providing water for their residence as well as a small orchard of over 60 fruit trees. This windmill was in use until the late 1970s when the City installed municipal water service in the neighborhood. Windmills were a common sight throughout Mountain View during the agricultural era of the early 20th century.
George Sohler, whose parents immigrated from
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Germany, opened his plumbing business in 1915. He was a City Councilmember between 1928-1938 and Mayor 1936-1937. Mr. Sohler served as the Superintendent of Public Works starting in 1939.

photo captions:
Original location of the windmill at 944 San Leandro Avenue. View shows the rear of the residence which is under construction. Note Hangar 1 at Moffett Federal Airfield is visible on the left beyond the windmill.
When the rudder is perpendicular to the mill, the pump rod is "on" and will pump water. To stop pumping water, the rudder is moved parallel to the mill. The storage tank was elevated on the house to provide water pressure at the faucet in the house and the spigot in the field.

(Above) Karl and Emilie with their children Carl and Carol in 1944. The Star Steel windmill is visible in the background.
(Right) Geo. W. Sohler Newspaper ad, April 1932.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureNatural ResourcesSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1932.
 
Location. 37° 24.828′ N, 122° 5.505′ W. Marker is in Mountain View, California, in Santa Clara County. Marker can be reached from Rengstorff Avenue, 0.1 miles north of Middlefield Road, on the right when traveling north. Located in Heritage Park. Touch for map
Windmill and Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Baker, September 27, 2021
2. Windmill and Marker
. Marker is at or near this postal address: 771 Rengstorff Ave, Mountain View CA 94043, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Immigrant House (a few steps from this marker); Mariano Castro Adobe (approx. ¾ mile away); SPARC RISC Architecture (approx. 0.8 miles away); First RISC Microprocessor (approx. 0.8 miles away); DIALOG Online Search System (approx. 0.8 miles away); SPICE (approx. 0.8 miles away); Moore’s Law (approx. 0.8 miles away); Online Systems and Personal Computing (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mountain View.
 
Windmill Marker Detail image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Baker, September 27, 2021
3. Windmill Marker Detail
Windmill Marker Detail image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Baker, September 27, 2021
4. Windmill Marker Detail
Karl and Emilie with their children Carl and Carol in 1944. The Star Steel windmill is visible in the background.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 10, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 9, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. This page has been viewed 351 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on October 9, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California.   2, 3, 4. submitted on October 10, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California.

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May. 24, 2024