Windmills of Solvang
1245 Fredensborg Canyon Road,
Old Mill Road,
(Between 1816 and 1818)
Solvang Windmill or Paaske Windmill
Mariposa Drive and Alisal Road, Solvang, California 93463
1618 Copenhagen Drive, Solvang, California 93463
1440 Mission Drive, Solvang, California 93463
1547 MIssion Drive,
114 East Highway 246, Buellton, California 93427
Between San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, you'll find Solvang, a small town known for its Danish style architecture. Solvang in Danish means "Sunny Field" and the town was originally founded on January 23rd, 1911, established by a group of Danes who decided to travel west and escape winters in the midwest. They purchased close to 9,000 acres in the Santa Ynez Valley. Solvang began attracting nation-wide attention in the late forties, at which time, the area started being developed more as a Denmark themed town.
Now known as the Danish Capital of California, buildings have Danish architecture, restaurants serve Danish food, stores sell Danish style goods, a few giant clogs can be found in town, fake storks hang out around chimneys, and there are, of course, several windmills throughout the area. Additionally, the bust of Danish fable writer, Hans Christian Anderson, can be found in a park; there is a 1/2 sized (and only one authorized by the heirs of the original sculpture) replica of the Little Mermaid statue from Copenhagen, and there is even a 1/3 scale replica of the Rundetaarn being used to house a pizza joint. As a result, several Danish royalty have actually visited Solvang.
Due to its Danish heritage, Solvang is currently home to six different windmills. Nearby Buelton, additionally, has a seventh. The very first windmill was built in 1922 by J.C. Wulff on Fredensborg Canyon and was part of an actual working well for his farm. The windmill pumped water and also ground up grain for the farm animals. It is now County Historical Landmark Number 17, being named such in 1980. Wulff was one of the first settlers in Solvang arriving the year the town was founded in 1911.
Four of the six windmills were all built by Ferdinand Sorensen, who was inspired while on a trip to Denmark in the mid forties and upon his return, decided to bring the building back to Solvang. Originally from Nebraska, Sorensen is now considered the architectural father of Solvand due to his influence in bringing the Danish style back to the town. He gave several buildings in the business district Danish style aesthetics and also carved many of the storks that can be found on some of the rooftops, which is a symbol of good luck in Denmark. Sorensen also helped Solvang acquire the Hans Christian Andersen bust on display in the park.
The first of his windmills, known now as the Sorensen Windmill, was built in 1947 and can be found at the bottom of the hill near the Mission, on what is now called, fittingly enough, Old Mill Road. It is outside a residential home.
The remaining four windmills are all in or near what is the downtown area of Solvang. Sorensen's second windmill, the most photographed one, called the Paaske Windmill or sometimes the Solvang Windmill, can be found on Alisal Road in downtown Solvang. It is near this windmill that you can find the 1/3 replica of Copenhagen's famous Rundetaarn or the Round Tower.
This tower was completed in May 1991. It is a replica approximately 1/3 size of the Round Tower in Copenhagen, Denmark. Rundetaarn was built on the initiative of King Christian IV (1586 - 1648) wih Hans Steenwinkel the architect on 7 July 1637, the foundation stone was laid. Uppermost on the facade of the tower there is an inscription, a rebus. The rebus can be interpreted in the following way: Lead, God, the right teaching and justice into the heart of the crowned King Christian IV, 1642. In 1642 the tower was completed.
Rundetaarn is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe.
Ferdinand Sorensen's third windmill is called the Blue Windmill and it is located in Hamlet Square on Copenhagen Drive. This, along with the previous windmill, are located in the heart of downtown Solvang.
The fourth of Sorensen's windmills is out front of the Kronborg Inn on Mission Drive. It is a much narrower version and stands in front of the inn, which can be found as you are entering Solvang from the west.
The sixth and final windmill in Solvang was built by the Anresen family in 1950 and can be found outside the Solvang Brewing Company, also on Mission Drive. You can dine on the patio and enjoy beverages from the restaurant while eating in front of the windmill.
Lastly, the town of Buelton, west of Solvang, also got in on the windmill business and they have the Sideways Inn, which sports a windmill that can be seen from the nearby Highway 101. The Sideways Inn is less than a block from Pea Soup Andersons.
First Created: 2021-06-27
Last Edited: 2021-06-27