Tourism, Boosterism, & Local Identity
This is such a big subject that this category has become unwieldy. I am adding some new photos under the topic of billboards to make navigation easier.
Tehachapi Wind Murals & Signs
Wind development began in Tehachapi, California with the Great Wind Rush of the early 1980s. The first flimsy turbines were installed in 1981. Since those early pioneering days, the Tehachapi Pass has become home to one of world’s great concentrations of wind turbines.
It was only a matter of time before iconic images of the area’s wind turbines began appearing on murals, sign boards, and more.
This mural was found on the wall of a Tehachapi steak house in February 2016.
Signboard welcoming shoppers to the boardwalk of a German bakery in downtown Tehachpai in the summer of 2014.
Step into the McDonald’s in Tehachapi and you’re reminded of the importance of the wind industry on the hills outside of town. Unfortunately, the designers of this McDonald’s made a mistake. The wind turbines pictured, Kenetech’s KVS 33, are found in the Altamont Pass not in the Tehachapi Pass. This error probably grates on the employees of the local wind farms who eat there, it certainly raised my ire when I saw it in the summer of 2012.
Newer restaurants continue the wind theme. In the summer of 2023, my wife Nancy introduced me to Henry’s Cafe, a relative newcomer to town, because of the wind theme on their menus and walls.
The first image is that of a photo mounted above a booth. The second image is that of Henry’s menu with a wind turbine theme. The third image is that of a promotional card with a wind turbine theme.
Italian Wind Mural
Mural on village wall in the central Appenine town Tocco da Casauria depicting the installation of two Riva-Calzoni wind turbines 1992. Circa late 1990s.
Tocco is a small town of 2,800 in the province of Pescara within the Abruzzo region.
The turbines were replaced in 2006 with two Enercon E48s and another two E48s were added in 2009.
For more information see
- Italian town’s wind farm windfall,
- Tocco da Casauria,
- Wikipedia: Tocco da Casauria,
- Ancient Italian Town Has Wind at Its Back,
- Sito ufficiale del Comune di Tocco da Casauria,
- Tocco di vento: sulle ali dell’eolico,
- Eolico a Tocco da Casauria, il comune più “energetico” d’Italia, invidiato anche all’estero, and
- L’eolico a Tocco.
New Zealand Wind Icons
Probably no region has more aggressively adopted wind turbines as a cultural icon with so few wind turbines as New Zealand’s north island. The one turbine in Wellington was viciously opposed by residents of Brooklyn in the outskirts of Wellington, the capital. Nevertheless the turbine was installed in 1993 and has consistently been one of the most productive wind turbines in the world with an average annual specific yield of 1,600 kWh/m². The turbine sits in a popular park overlooking the city and the suburb of Brooklyn. Since it was installed the Vestas V27 has been adopted by the community and a proposal to remove the turbine was turned down. The image of the turbine has adorned a telephone directory and ceramic tiles on the sidewalk of Brooklyn.
2002-2003 Wellington Telephone Directory.
Plywood barrier to construction site in Wellington harbor decorated by schoolchildren. Photo taken in September, 2005.
Ceramic tiles of Windy Wellington’s single wind turbine. The tiles shown here are used to pave the sidewalk in Brooklyn, a suburb of Wellington.
Cathy Sims sporting a skirt with an image of wind turbines. She bought the skirt in Palmerston North. Cathy says there’s no label in the skirt so she doesn’t know who made it. It was just happenstance that she wore this skirt the day I visited.
Palmerston North is the home of Massey University where Ralph Sims, Cathy’s husband, teaches. Palmserston North is just west of the Tararua Range and the wind turbines there.
I’ve never seen a community more aggressively adopt wind energy than Woodville, New Zealand. Woodvile is on the east side of the Tararua Range that runs north from Wellington. To the west is Palmerston North. Woodville is the gateway to the Manawatu Gorge through the Tararua Range.
There’s no doubt when you enter Woodville that this is windmill country. While McCamey may claim it’s the windmill capital of Texas, Woodville claims the title of wind farm capital of New Zealand.
Everyone in Woodville gets in on the act. Here is a promotion for a local service station.
North of Woodville are several Danish settlements, hence the Viking connection. To the south is the Tui brewery, a multi-story brick structure–an unusual architectural feature of the landscape. All are symbols commercialized by the local office of tourism.
The local tourist office sells souvenir refrigerator magnets and lapel pins sporting the area’s wind turbines. Unlike most souvenir shops in the United States, the Woodville office of tourism does sell items actually made in New Zealand!
Mouse pad repeating the Woodville theme: Wind, Brewery, Vikings, etc.
Tourist brochure touting the areas features, including the first wind farm.
Local restaurants compete with each other on who has the best view of the wind farms.
Hau Nui & International Tourism
New Zealand’s first wind farm, actually a cluster of Enercon E40 turbines, was installed in the late 1990s east of Martinborough, intself northeast of Wellington on the North Island. The Hau Nui project (Maori for strong wind) has since been expanded with a second cluster of Enercon E48 turbines in 2005.
For a recent (August, 2005) trip to New Zealand we picked up a copy of a DK (Dorling Kindersley) guidebook on the country. Lo and behold there was Hau Nui shown as a tourist destination.
Images copyright Dorling Kindersley 2001, reproduced here for educational purposes only.
Texas Wind Icons
Wind turbines have been adopted along with cowboys, cows, and oil as symbols of the West Texas town of McCamey–The self-styled Wind Capital of Texas.
Texas High Plains Highway Sign
There were at some 60,000 water-pumping windmills operating in the Texas Panhandle (the High Plains) in the 1970s.
Grover Beach Wind Icon
Signpost banner outside Grover (Pismo) Beach Oxford Suite Hotel in 2015. Generic wind turbine on bucolic background.
Buffalo Ridge Minnesota Banners
Another banner on a pole, this time in some small town on Minnesota’s Buffalo Ridge.