Recalling other structures on Chappy that have disappeared, I remembered the windmill at Walter Wood’s house next to the Chappy Beach Club. It was there for perhaps three years in the late ‘70s. It was a Pinson cycloturbine designed and built by Herman Drees. Walter had great faith in Mr. Drees as a fellow inventor and supported his efforts in testing the windmill. The machine withstood the worst conditions in that very exposed location.

It consisted of three vertical blades that chased each other around a central axis. The blades tacked through the wind much like a sailing vessel. The tower was made up of a series of triangles. I considered it to be a work of art. A sterling example of function and form combining to create beauty. Mechanical beauty to be sure, just as a person might admire the function and form of a ship’s propeller.

Some folks thought that it was an eyesore. When the subject came up onboard the ferry, I would express my empathy to the complainer and demonstrate how a person could shift their vantage point so that the view of the tower and turbine was obstructed by the row of utility poles that were perhaps less offensive to the eye. Most people saw through my thinly-veiled sarcasm.

Walter liked that approach to responding to people who failed to appreciate the beauty of his windmill. He told me that a gentleman had accosted him at a cocktail party, accusing him of creating an attractive nuisance that distracted him while driving, nearly causing a collision. The man’s wife chimed in that Walter mustn’t feel at fault, since the very same phenomenon occurred whenever there were young ladies on bikes in bathing suits pedaling along the road.