Madison County Windmill Farm, Fenner, NY

July 24, 2006
After our excursion to Lorenzo House and Chittenango Falls State Park, we drove up to Route 23 and to Peterboro Road in the town of Fenner, Madison County. There are over a dozen of these gorgeous, clean-looking windmills that can be seen from miles away, and Fenner claims to host the largest wind power project on the East Coast.

I took this photo from my vehicle. Such beautiful, green hills of Madison County. Can you see the windmills in the distance?

Hills of Madison County NY

The sky is so blue with the slightest tinge of pink. It is beautiful up here. Not too windy today, though.

Windmill Farm

I kind of like the idea of windmills, and windpower. But I hear there is a “dark side” to living near them.

We spent some time circling the area of the windmills. My ancestors, the Parsons (from Northampton, Mass.) and Hatch families (from New London, Conn.) founded this area of Fenner/Chittenango/Cazenovia in 1801. I had done some genealogy research last year, and located their burial sites in Fenner and Cazenovia.

The land is really beautiful. Wide open spaces with a spectacular blue sky. Makes me want to dump my house in town and start my own homestead.

Fenner Windmill

From what I have heard, one of the windmill’s blades broke in November 2007.

It’s one of the most visible sights in Madison County; one of the blades on the Fenner Wind Turbines broke in mid-November, and is still not fixed.

A representative for General Electric, who built the huge turbines, says the weather has been too snowy, too cold, and too windy to get up and fix the blade. As soon as they get a stretch of more-mild weather, they say they’ll be up there as soon as possible to make the fix.

Here’s a recent photo of a blade break. It’s hard to tell if that’s a crane repairing it.

About the Author

I've been traveling throughout New York State since I got the travel bug after touring the Herkimer Home on a school field trip as a youngster. We've been blogging about our travels since 2006 and have visited over half of New York's 62 counties so far.

Comments (21)

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  1. johnny litson says:

    its nice to know that madison county has emerged with a useful economical windmill project, hope it inspires people around.

    Nice photos, brings out the actual color of the county

  2. Thanks, Johnny. Looking at the photos makes me feel warmer! I can’t wait until spring!

  3. Geoffrey Gursky says:

    Nice pictures of the windmills. How can I get windmills on my property to produce electricity? I would like some.

  4. Hey Geoffrey. I have NO idea. I’d actually love my own personal windmill, too! My kids are getting tired of bicycle pedaling our generator day in and day out…

  5. […] since the kids and I saw the Fenner Windmill Project in Madison County, I’ve been interested in wind power; more specifically, in wind power for […]

  6. bryan says:

    What road are you driving on that you can get so close to the windmills? My wife’s fam lives in the Utica area and I work for a power company and wanted to show my wife some of the stuff that is invovled in the power business and i thought taking her to a windfarm while we were in the area would be nice. Thanks for the help, as detailed as you wanna get!

  7. Ashlyn says:

    Hey Bryan I go up to the windmills all the time, I was up there last night! πŸ™‚ I go from Cazenovia though where on Albany Rd. the main street you take a left right after the Gas station on Fenner St. and follow that for 4.7 miles and turn left onto Buyea Rd and that will take you straight to the windmills where there will be several little roads that will take you right up underneath them. But if your coming from Utica just map quest From Utica to the intersection Peterboro and buyea rd and that will take you right there Its like 30 miles from Utica. Your wife will love them! It’s beautiful! Hope this helps, Have fun. If its rainy still go! Thats my favorite time to go up there watching the blades go through the fog πŸ™‚
    I took this picture standing underneath one yesterday.

  8. I love the windmills on the hills going into Hamilton, they looks so stately and serene. I grew up in those hills and would love o see them on our Berkshire hills in New York. How can I get some?

  9. RJ says:

    There is nothing “pretty” about living near these beasts. They have raped our forests and wildlife for the all mighty dollar. My local farm has had fractured blades and shutdowns because of too much wind, not enough wind and too much ice etc. They are an eyesore that has little practical value. Tourism is hurting and these monuments to out governments ignorance stand watch on the devaluation of our property. Best of all, these are foreign companies that make and own these beasts which are paid for by our tax dollars. Power lines sweep any power to a nearby grid which then sells the power out of state. Worst of all, these 400 foot high towers pay no taxes because they are classified as “portable structures”. Is it any wonder why NY is the absolute worst and most expensive state to live in? Just asks the thousands that leave every month.

  10. Bob Mitchell says:

    I love how these evironmental zealots talk about keeping the land “pristine”, yet advocate filling some of the most beautiful land on Earth with machines straight out of “war of the World”. HYPOCRITES!!

  11. Steph says:

    RJ if you ever read this you have no idea what you are talking about so just dont talk. your local farm has been fractured because of where you live you idiot. not because of the windmills. look around you, its all steep hills etc. which creates the climate that you have so MOVE SOMEWHERE ELSE And BOB MITCHELL: you make no sense whatsoever. πŸ™‚

  12. Dalt says:

    just curious i love the windmills, and am thinking of going out to them on one of my motorcycle trips. are the roads in that area done? from the pictures it looks like maybe loose gravel…

    • Hi Dalt. The roads are paved. It may be a little rough now that winter is over. There are a lot of ups and downs on the road, this being along Route 20 and in that area of of hills. If you’re really up for some adventure, bring a skateboard! LOL! Have fun. πŸ˜‰

  13. Dalt says:

    was there yesterday! so fun and beautiful area. cant wait to bring my girlfriend for a ride up there when shes home from school.those windmills for some reason are just so cool to me lol.

  14. mw says:

    If you think the windmills are beautiful, try living within earshot of them! Think of the sound a fan makes in your window, then imagine the fans blades are 150 feet long, and instead of one fan there are 7, all turning in unison. I agree, they are nice…from a distance, but when you try to sit on the porch at night, all you here is a contstant swooooosh, along with a low hertz tone! Does anyone know what effect the defeat of NYRI will have on the windmills operation?

  15. sandy- co owner of Hillair Farms- windmills on Milestrip road says:

    As I appreciate everyone enjoying the windmills in Fenner, they are a wonderous site, you also have to realize that they are NOT public property. All the windmills are on private & posted lands that are owned by local farmers. All of us farmers up in the hills think it’s great to have a little bit of the future here, and to be involved, but we do ask that the public respect the fields and lands that we all work to produce income for our families and future generations. These lands are our job not just a tourist attraction! They have since put up a the FREE Center which allows the general public to learn about the windmills and get up close to a blade on the ground. It is actually on Buyea Rd. Please if you plan to visit the windmills on our properties, as permission from the owner on the posted sign before you go driving/ walking on someones hard earned dollars! Thanks,

    • Sandy, rest assured. We never left the road. πŸ˜€ I did not see the FREE Center up there when I was there; I’ll have to search for it next time I go. Thanks for your comment! By the by– your ancestors weren’t Parsons from Massachusetts, by any chance?

  16. sandy- co owner of Hillair Farms- windmills on Milestrip road says:

    And P.S. Mrs. Mecomber- We may be related- My family has been here for over 200 years and were some of the early settlers in these hills. I also seem to remember my grandmoter talking about geneology and some of our family moving to Mass- Interesting!

  17. Edward Davis says:

    I am a landscape architect living in Charlotte, NC and have family in New Woodstock. I love my native NC, but beautiful Madison County is a close second. I’m not a fan of manmade elements in a natural setting, but the windmills are elegant. Plus they represent man’s effort to harness nature’s energy in a way that has less impact on the environment. I like seeing the windmills each time that I visit.

    I am trying to pinpoint the location of the windmills on Google Earth. Let me know if I have marked the spot incorrectly.

  18. jd Lee says:

    I see that you mentioned your ancesters being “Hatch’s” from New London CT. I also have New London Hatch’s in my line. Do you know any of the New London names? I have traced my line right back to New London Hatch’s through some of the Hatch Family bibles which my family have had passed down for generations.

    jd lee

  19. Penny Kardys says:

    I was raised in Madison County NY. I lived in Fenner for a period of time and the Windmills blew my mind. My husband and I have moved to North Carolina and would like to find someone who can make a windmill for my yard here. I know when I worked at the Dept. of Solid Waste and Sanitation, I drove by a resident that built them. Could someone help me bring alittle NY to NC?????

    Thank You.

    Penny 704-267-6171.