For anyone interested in the American West, here’s a bit of historical interest for you. During one of our many epic road trips across the country, we decided to go and explore the far northeastern section of Wyoming – an area that neither Cindy or I had ever been to. Sure, the two of us have explored the national parks in northwestern Wyoming pretty thoroughly together as adults, and I’d been with my family as a kid when we used to go camping throughout all of western Wyoming in the 1960s and early 1970s – but other than the major travel routes (I-90, I-25, and I-80), we’d never really seen much of the eastern part of the state. That all changed on this particular trip.
When driving in eastern Wyoming, one tends to get parched. Whether it’s the dry and arid conditions of the land, or the high desert air one is driving through – thirst tends to build. So we went looking for a suitable solution and ended up in Chugwater – stopping at the famous Chugwater Soda Fountain… the oldest operating soda fountain in the state of Wyoming. That in itself is worth the trip, but at the northern edge of their parking lot is this oddity – a vaneless windmill. I’ll let the description from the Flickr page take it from here:
The vaneless mills were unique in that the tail pointed into the wind and the wheel section opened and closed maintaining a constant pumping speed according to the velocity of the wind. There were no gears of any kind on these mills. Pumping action was by direct stroke pitmon stick.Konrad Summers Flickr site
The major portion of the mill “A Dempster #4” was salvaged from the Edward Come homestead approximately 2 miles northeast of Chugwater. It was restored by John Baker and Jim Collins of Chugwater and erected in 1991 by members for Wyoming’s Centennial.
A vaneless windmill – I didn’t know such a thing existed!
Legacy vaneless windmill
Northern point of Chugwater Soda Fountain parking lot
Ilford Pan F+ 50
Zeiss Biogon 21/4.5 ZM lens
Leica M3 35mm film camera