One of the very first questions often asked is, "What is a Whirligig?"
That is a bit tricky to answer. Most people imagine a simple pinwheel or weather vane. Kinda like the one pictured here. But it is the scale that makes it a whirligig. Would you believe the Chicken Whirligig pictured here is the size of 1960's Cadallic? Some are as large as semi-trucks, others small enough to fit on a table top.
Whirligigs are spinning kentic sculptures made of recycled or found materials. They are typically all metal. Mr. Simpson uses comedy, action figures and farm animals in many of his creation. He also prefers the color scheme of red, white and blue. Stars are a common theme in many of his whirligigs.
Yes, Whirligigs do whirl, spin and rotate in the wind. The spinning is not as simple as just a pinwheel or fan. They often rotate in several directions at once.
See for yourself. Visit the Whirligigs located all around Wilson, NC and the globe!
Wilson Rose Garden
The Wilson Rose Garden is full of beautiful roses known far and wide for their abundance, variety and volunteer “dead heads” that keep the garden beautiful. In addition to roses, visitors can view a couple of the infamous Whirligigs.
DIRECTIONS: From 1-95, take US 264 East to Ward Blvd. Turn left at stoplight on Ward Blvd. to Herring Avenue (NC Hwy 42 East). Turn Left at light and go 1 mile. Rose Garden is on right in front of the City Operations plant.
Whirligig are dotted all over the downtown area of Wilson. You can find one at the corner on Nash & Tarboro Streets. Another is located just in front of the NC Employment office at the corner of Kenan and Pine Streets. Drive around – you’ll be surprised how many you can see!
Hickory Grove Park
The newest addition of Whirligig to Wilson is the Paul V. Berry Hickory Grove Park, located in downtown Wilson. The park is the latest success for downtown Wilson. It gives citizens a place to gather outside and enjoy beautiful landscaping and open green space. The area once held a dilapidated building that has since been torn down. Citizens who bought commemorative bricks for the city's sesquicentennial celebration can find them near the park fountain.
DIRECTIONS: From 1-95, take US 264 East which become Raleigh Road as you approach the shopping areas. Continue on Raleigh Road into the downtown residential area. Raleigh Road becomes Hines Street as is approached the Wilson Fire station #1 – Headquarters. Turn left on Tarboro Street, turn left on Kenan Street just in front of the Employment Commission. The park will be on the right after crossing Pine Street, located directly in front of the Goldenleaf Apartments.
Windmill Farm - Simpson Workshop
The unique Windmill Farm is a remarkable collection of elaborate "whirligigs" produced by local outsider folk artist Vollis Simpson. The works incorporate complex movement and sound as a integral part of the more than 30 works designed and constructed on Simpson's property. Simpson's welded and painted constructions are large in scale and have been exhibited at The North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, NC, The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, The Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, MD, at the inner harbor, and are featured in downtown Raleigh, two blocks from the Exploris Museum. Simpson has been featured in several publications including Sign and Symbol, People, Newsweek, Time Magazine, and other popular books and publications.
DIRECTIONS: Exit 107 North to Lucama, turn left at light at Clints Korner, go to the second intersection, turn left on Wiggins Mill Road. Go approximately 4 miles on the left. From Wilson on Hwy. 301 South pass Travelodge turn right on Wiggins Mill Road, go approximately 8 miles on the left.