Murphy Windmill in Golden Gate Park gets a cap; restoration nearly done

Video provided by KTVU

Yesterday, the 106-year-old Samuel Murphy Windmill in Golden Gate Park, also known as the “South Windmill”, got back its 60+ ton copper dome, which was restored and put back in place during a “capping” ceremony.

It’s been a long time coming – the cap’s restoration project, which took place in the Netherlands, lasted 10 years. According to The Chronicle, “The dome was sent by ship to Lucas Verbij of Verbij Hoogmade, a company in the Netherlands that has been designing and building windmills since 1868.”

Some history on the windmill, courtesy of the SF Examiner:

The Murphy Windmill, named after a local banker and benefactor, was constructed in 1905 after the successful creation of the Dutch Windmill. The Dutch Windmill, which now sits next to the Beach Chalet restaurant, was built in 1902. At one time, both windmills were responsible for pumping as many as 1.5 million gallons of water everyday, according to the park department.

Despite their simple technology, windmill restoration doesn’t come cheap. Restoring the wind-welcoming giants has cost more than $6 million in private and public money. The Chronicle writes, “The current stage, which costs about $2.4 million, involves rehabilitating the base and installing the cap, sails and gears. It also includes refurbishing Millwright’s Cottage, which stands next to the windmill.”

The complete restoration of the Murphy Windmill is scheduled for completion by mid-2012. Final steps are to reconstruct the windmill, landscape the area around it and get water to circulate within the windmill. The plan is to eventually pump water throughout the park using the two windmills.

Sarah B.


  1. I’m getting really tired of seeing Eric Mar’s face at events like this, which would have happened whether he was elected or not, and not doing anything about our own very specific issues. Is it just me or does he return anyone else’s phone calls, messages, emails?

  2. No, it isn’t just you. Many of us feel the same way. He’s very good at making appearances at high visibility events, but is a disappointment the rest of the time. Maybe it’s time to think about selecting someone else in the next District 1 election.

  3. Since the windmills originally pumped to the top of Strawberry Hill and the original plumbing is still in, why not allow the windmills to again perform that function and replace the reclaimed sewage that I understand is the water in Stow Lake to cleaner water from the natural aquifer ?

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