In Berkeley, we are often accused of tilting at windmills, a phrase taken, as every schoolboy knows, from Cervantes and his Don Quixote. The literary meaning is not particularly kind – to fight imagined enemies. A kinder and gentler sense exists, of engaging in impractical, idealistic ventures. The image of a 16th century Spanish knight engaging in battle with windmills is, whatever the meaning, a powerful and enduring one.
We see images of a windmill at many corner grocery stores:
Farms in Berkeley? Windmills in Berkeley?
Yes, at least to the windmills. The Berkeley Farms restaurant pictured above was in Novato. As for our windmills, most are slightly kitschy models, but a few are functioning.
This photo on Derby Street was taken in 1912. Not there any more. But these are:
As for those that function – my across-the-street neighbor had two windmills in his backyard. He was a resourceful and clever man, who used the windmills to draw water from the ground to water his lawn and garden.
My neighbor died last year and the windmills have been neglected. One still works. One doesn’t.
t think that this beauty on Idaho generates power.
When you are near it and the wind is blowing, you can hear and feel the throbbing vibrations.
And now – a photographic segue from windmills to water towers.
That is now.
This is then. Same place.
When we think of water towers, we think of rural California.
We think of New York City.
Or we think of steam locomotives and towers along railroad tracks.
But we don’t think of Berkeley.
If we think of one, it is just north of Asbhy, near Orchard Supply Hardware:
The OSH water tower is visible in a previous incarnation.
Here it is, World War II, in the middle of Camp Ashby, home to the 779th Military Police Battalion, an African-American unit.
There are a few more.
Admitted – this is a model, not what you probably expected. Well, how about this: the tower at 1805 Delaware has been in-built:
As has one on California, only here the tower is gone and the in-built remains.
My friend likes wind mills but is really crazy about water towers. He has a small collection of photos of water towers as sculpture, sent to him over the years by friends.
Pretty cool. He wishes that we had something like that in Berkeley. Don’t we all? But this is beside the point. What about our run-of-the-mill water towers and wind mills?