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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.