||J.B. Buchanan's passion for windmills began at age three. That fascination
manifested itself the day his mother frantically clambered up the rough
boards of the Currie Windmill on her Oklahoma ranch to retrieve her youngest
That was in 1909.
In 1998, at age 92, J.B. climbed his last windmill. At least it's the
last one he admits to climbing - an 89-year-old habit is hard to break.
|The move was a logical one. Mr. Buchanan has been solely responsible
for their care and maintenance for more than thirty years. The landmarks
will be carefully disassembled, and one by one, the cluster that marked
this flat Panhandle horizon will become a priceless display on the edge
of Spearman, Texas.
J.B.'s grandson Roger, together with some area promoters, began the Southwestern Pioneer Windmill Association. This association is open to anyone who loves and appreciates the heritage of windmills, no matter where they live.
|J.B.'s son Burl, the mayor of Spearman, proclaimed January
21, 1999 as
"Windmill Day in Hansford County." The day was set aside to honor J.B. and his gift to the county and to raise the first windmill, a late 1800 Eclipse. The ceremony began with the reading of the Windmill Proclamation. Members of the Texas Inter-Tribal Indian Organization told of a legend of the Origin of the Wind Spirit and asked for the blessings of the Four Winds. Then J.B., shovel in hand (right), marked the spot where the century-old mill was to be raised by a team of four Belgian draft horses. The emotion in the quivering voices of three generations spread to the crowd of more than 200, including Hansford County's school children, as they watched in reverence and awe.
|Plans for a lighted windmill park are underway. The park, in addition
to the original collection, will be located at the Spearman High School
and will have at least two windmills. The project is a joint effort by
the Spearman Independent School District, the City of Spearman and the
Southwestern Pioneer Windmill Association. The fourteen windmills,
including Curries, Samsons, Umbrellas, Eclipses and Challenges, will be
adopted by local families to commemorate loved ones.
Two of the windmills, a Standard and an Eclipse, reside permanently in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. A Samson windmill from the collection is located at The Big Texan Steak ranch in Amarillo, Texas. A large placard at this windmill invites tourists to visit the entire collection in Spearman, just 90 miles to the North. The remaining windmills in the collection will be scattered in key areas throughout the community, with plans for the collection to grow.