About the
History of the
Restoration Plan How to
Get Involved



About the Campaign
Q. What is the Campaign to Save the Golden Gate Park Windmills?

A. A campaign spearheaded by a group of concerned citizens to restore the two windmills located at the western end of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and develop the area into a new San Francisco destination for education and recreation.

Q. What is the current state of the South Windmill?

A. The South Windmill has lost its sails, fantail and deck.The interior wooden stairs, base, windmill supports and the rotating cap are badly in need of repair.

Q. What is the house that is located next to the South Windmill?

A. The Millwright’s Cottage is adjacent to the South Windmill - when the windmills were operational, this structure housed the millwright.

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Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden
Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden

The History of the Windmills
Why were the windmills built in the first place? What’s the history of their development?

A. In 1901, the park’s superintendent, John McLaren, proposed a huge windmill at the western end of the park. This windmill would take advantage of the winds to pump water for the park’s irrigation system.

In 1902, the North Windmill was completed at a cost of $25,000 to the City of San Francisco.

Samuel Murphy donated $20,000 for the construction of the second windmill in 1905. Additional donations of materials from involved citizens made the construction of this windmill possible.

When did the windmills cease operation?

A. In 1913, the City decided to power the windmills electrically to increase efficiency, thus eliminating their primary function and hastening deterioration.

Q. If the North Windmill was already cosmetically restored, what still needs to be done?

A. The North Windmill has significant insect and water damage.

The gallery is unstable and unsafe to visitors.

The windmill’s current wood shingles need to be replaced.

Paintings on the windmill’s interior require restoration.

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North Windmill
North Windmill

The Restoration Plan

Q. The North Windmill appears to be in good shape today - has anyone ever tried to restore this windmill?

A. In 1964, Mrs. Eleanor Rossi Crabtree spearheaded a campaign to raise funds and city awareness to revitalize the windmills.

The cosmetic restoration of the North Windmill included a full cleaning of the windmill’s interior and surrounding area, replacement of delapidated woodwork, a new exterior deck and new spars.

In 1981, the campaign completed the North Windmill’s cosmetic restoration.


Q. What is involved in the restoration? What does it offer the public?

South Windmill
Restores the South Windmill to operational capacity and preserves the original structure and design.

The rotating cap of the windmill was transported to Holland where Lucas Verbij, a windmill expert, restored it to working condition.

The base will be renovated locally so that it will hold up to new uses.

The interior will be viewed through large windows and will allow visitors to experience the working mechanisms of a windmill.

Plans are being developed for a multi-media installation onsite.

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North Windmill
North Windmill

Linking the Windmills with the Landscape
Vacant ground to the west will be designed as the Dutch Dell, a native garden that will complement the windmills.

A meadow and pond will be developed near the South Windmill.

A one-third mile pedestrian trail and a mile-long biking loop will connect the windmills.

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An Endowment to Ensure Ongoing Maintenance

An endowment fund will enable the Golden Gate Park staff to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience at the Windmill Gardens.

Golden Gate Park Tulips
Golden Gate Park tulips

Q. In a nutshell, why should people care about repairing these windmills?

A. The North and South Windmills helped transform the western end of Golden Gate Park from sand dunes into the park that San Francisco residents and visitors enjoy today.

Restoring these landmarks helps to preserve San Francisco’s rich history and its treasures.

The restoration transforms the windmills and surrounding area into a new venue for education and recreation.

Q. Who is involved in the Campaign?

· Steering Committee of volunteers
· Mark de Jong, contractor
· Nancy Tennebaum, structural engineer
· Mike Fotheringham, landscape architect
· Lucas Verbij, windmill consultant
· Friends of San Francisco Recreation and Parks
· San Francisco Department of Recreation and Park
· Landis Communications Inc., public relations
· San Francisco Beautiful
· San Francisco Garden Club
· Ex’pression Center for New Media

Executive and Steering Committees of committed volunteers

How to Get Involved
How can people get involved and donate to the Campaign?

A. To volunteer, donate to the campaign or for general information, please call (415) 733.3001 or e-mail the campaign at Natasha Yankoffski.

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