We originally purchased the property that is now known as The Windmill Winery in 2001, in order to house our expanding plant nursery. At the time it was a weather-beaten, shack-strewn farm that had seen better days. The history of the property indicates that it was Arizona’s first brickyard, established in 1906, and known as the “George Smith Brick Foundry.” Many of the historic buildings in Phoenix and Florence were built with bricks that were handmade by George and his two sons.
In the late 1930’s George sold the brickyard and began working for the government, building what became Camp Florence – the largest WWII POW camp on American soil. Throughout that time he also taught his brick-making skills to the prisoners and staff at the camp. An odd tidbit of information: during his employment with the prison system, George Smith built the double-electrocution chair which is currently displayed at the Pinal County Historical Museum.
Although it was no longer a brickyard, the property was leased to other Smith family members, who converted it into a small dairy farm. It is said that Mrs. George Smith lived out her days here, on the farm.
After purchasing the property, we found that along with the old buildings, we also acquired a “ton of bricks.” In keeping with history, we used those bricks to create the grand entrance to The Windmill Winery, the Aqueduct Arches for our ceremony site, and many of the walkways throughout the grounds. The buildings that were salvageable were refurbished and are being used today: our Shabby Chic Bridal Cottage for the Barn venue and our charmingly rustic Wine Tasting Room are just two of these buildings.