Working Winds

Harnessing wind energy is nothing new in Charleston, and it began here literally as a Dutch treat. Timber was a big industry in colonial Charleston, but the hand-powered saw pits made for slow, grueling work. Coastal sea breezes were a potential source of power, but finding a way to tap into it meant seeking help from 4500 miles away. Dutch windmill engineers were first hired and sailed to Charleston in 1713 to build a wind sawmill at the foot of the peninsula, and in the ensuing years, skilled artisans such as Jonathan Lucas and David Cannon copied the intricate technology, as a number of wind sawmills and wind rice mills cropped up along the coast by the turn of the 19th century. 

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