From its new home at Union Cemetery, the newly restored Solari Windmill overlooks Woodside Road, not far from the farm where it first stored water more than 100 years ago.
The 40-foot water tower and windmill was feted Monday during Union Cemetery’s annual Memorial Day Celebration. It became the historic cemetery’s newest tenant this year, capping a nine-year effort to rescue the windmill from being demolished or relegated to a city corporation yard.
“It gives me goosebumps,” said Parks and Recreation Commissioner Jeri Joseph-Hover, looking up at the windmill after spearheading the effort to find the structure a new home. “Words cannot describe the feeling in my heart.”
The windmill once presided over a massive farm operated by the Solari family, located where Costco now stands, on Middlefield Road near Woodside Road. As neighborhoods and industry moved in, it remained near the back of Garfield School until, nine years ago, school officials decided they wanted to add a sports field and tear the windmill down.
That’s when longtime resident and centenarian Jean Cloud approached the Parks & Recreation Commission and asked them to do something. Joseph-Hover got hooked.
City officials struggled for years to find a home for it until John Edmonds, president of the Historic Union Cemetery Association, came forward to offer a spot.
“This is the most secure place it could be,” Edmonds said. “And it adds something to the cemetery. I like it here.”
Restoring the windmill cost nearly $55,000, much of which was donated by the Redwood City Council, Joseph-Hover said. Volunteers with the Native Sons ofthe Golden West contributed to its reconstruction, while T&H Building Company, The Mike Kastrop Group and Just Leaks Roofing donated time and labor. Work on the building will continue through June.
The windmill might be used to pump recycled water from a city pipeline to plants at the cemetery, according to Joseph-Hover.