By Libby Ingalls
The Queen Wilhelmina Windmill illuminated against a nearly full moon, April 2019.
Photo: Chris Carlsson
Plaque on Dutch Windmill
Golden Gate Park near Great Highway
Robert W. Carroll is commemorated on this plaque for the volunteer work he did with the U.S. Naval Reserve Seabees (from C.B., short for Construction Battalion) to restore the long neglected Dutch Windmill located in the northwest corner of Golden Gate Park. Carroll was a full time journeyman electrician with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 551 in Santa Rosa, while also volunteering with the Naval Reserve construction unit to restore the windmill. Tragically he fell from the windmill and died on April 19, 1980.
The building trades have long played an important role with the Naval Seabees. After the U.S. entered World War I, the Navy created several Construction Battalions to build airstrips and roads in the Pacific Theater. These units were also expected to be prepared for defensive combat, thus their motto, “We build, we fight.” The Navy recruited the men for these units from the building trades, valuing their experience and skill. Restoration of the Dutch Windmill is just one of many peacetime contributions by the Seabees and local union members to preserve our history.
Adapted from The San Francisco Labor Landmarks Guide Book: A Register of Sites and Walking Tours, edited by Susan P. Sherwood and Catherine Powell