PIEDMONT Progress takes awhile, even with the wind behind it.
For Piedmont, that "while was the 10 years it took to erect four windmills just inside the city's southern entrance part of the citizens' "Winds of Progress idea for promoting their home and its annual Founders Day celebration.
A decade ago, a group of civic leaders got together for dinner and started talking about ways to promote their community. For the people living in this city on a hill, one theme came up again and again.
"We figured if there was one thing Piedmont always had, it was wind, former Mayor Allen Moffat said.
With an idea in mind, fellow resident and Express Services President Bob Funk took the concept of wind to his company's advertising department in search of a slogan.
The winner, displayed proudly on the south side of the city, was "Winds of Progress.
The group, now called the Piedmont Beautification Committee, came up with a few ways to demonstrate their motto, including a street race for wind-driven vehicles.
But it was a quick look at the land around them, full of tall fields of wheat and grain, which had them quickly set on the idea of windmills.
Originally planned with 1993 federal grant money in mind, Piedmont's windmill plans did not receive the state funds, leaving the civic improvement in the hands of the committee that dreamed it up.
For a lot of communities, that might have been the end of such a project. But Piedmont's a different kind of place, as anyone living here will tell you.
After the 1992 Founders Day event raised $1,700, it was just a matter of time before the committee and residents pitched in to find the rest.
Nearly $2,000 was spent on the first windmill, a rare Model L Monitor.
The other three were donated: a three-legged tower from Bennett, a four-legged tower from former Mayor George Dannehl and a wind charger from Mason Treece.
The windmills decrease in age as a visitor travels north, showing the engineering "progress of their donors.
There would be another windmill, between the third and fourth, but it was stolen.
"Some of us thought it was Allen's (Moffat) farmhands helping out, said Cindy Cheatwood, Chamber of Commerce president. Some Piedmont residents even asked if the robbers needed help.
If you ask anyone involved with the project who the driving force behind getting the windmills bought, donated and put up, you'll get the same answer everybody.
Maybe they're afraid of being saddled with the blame. More likely, they understand that the "Winds of Progress really was a civic improvement, since the entire city was involved in it one way or another.
A day spent at the Mid-Oklahoma Co-op will produce only a handful of customers who haven't served in one public office or another. A trip to the Piedmont Historical Museum reveals items donated by third-generation residents and families who have only been in the community for a few years.
City Manager Jim Richardson will gladly talk about the newest improvements coming to Piedmont, including baseball and softball fields, a new library and a community pavilion.
"These are all visible examples of how the community pulls together, Richardson said. "We've even got some grants for landscaping along the southern entrance to town.
To some, a decade might seem like a long time to put up windmills, but for Piedmont, the time couldn't be better. This summer, the city will celebrate its 100th anniversary a monthlong festival stretching from the Fourth of July to Founder's Day on Sept. 13.Archive ID: 1147451