Block Island’s Wind Turbines – Objects of Beauty 

Offshore wind farms have been bitterly opposed by residents of Cape Cod and Nantucket, among others. My question is why?


After having lived for a week in view of five wind turbines three miles off the shore of Block Island – the first wind farm in the U.S. — I am baffled by the “not in my backyard” reaction.


Because not only do they make ecological, environmental and economic sense, but the turbines themselves are visually beautifully, gorgeous pieces of immense sculpture that, depending on the light, subtly change shape, form, mood, and yes, power.




Interestingly, too, according to an exhibition at Block Island’s Historical Society, during the process of laying down the turbines’ power lines, archeologists have uncovered “projectile points” dating from between 4,000 and 6,000 B.C. That is when Block Island was still linked to the mainland.




Gradually, the rate of sea level rise began to decrease and the top of that landmass – Block Island – emerged, no longer connected to the mainland. Carbon-dated recovered remains from shell heaps (or middens) around today’s Great Salt Pond indicate that from 500 B.C. on, the Island was inhabited by year round settlements of the Manisses tribe. Natives dined on and prospered from riches of the sea, including sturgeon, cod, harbor seals and migratory waterfowl.


Turbines11So three cheers for tiny Block Island, whose citizens are pioneering a clean, efficient fuel source in America, while at the same time uncovering and documenting the lives and history of its earliest inhabitants, among America’s first pioneers.

Photos by Eleanor Foa Dienstag

About Eleanor Foa Dienstag (31 Articles)
Eleanor Foa Dienstag is a veteran author, journalist, photo-journalist and award-winning corporate writer. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Harper's, the New Republic, the New York Observer, Ms., Travel & Leisure, and many other websites and publications. Eleanor is the author of three books. Her most recent, available on Amazon and Centro Primo Levi is MIXED MESSAGES: Reflections on an Italian Jewish Family and Exile. It is a multi-layered memoir about Eleanor’s personal journey, her father’s exile from Fascist Italy and the Foa Family journey, whose Italian-Jewish roots go back to the 1500s in northern Italy where her ancestors were famous printers. WHITHER THOU GOEST: The Story of an Uprooted Wife, also a memoir, was acclaimed by Business Week for its insights into corporate life. Her third book, In Good Company: 125 Years At The Heinz Table, offered a unique view of a quintessential American company. Eleanor served as staff speechwriter to the Chairman and CEO of American Express. In 1983, she founded Eleanor Foa Associates ( It provides a wide variety of corporate writing and marketing services. Eleanor is past president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), received speechwriting awards from IABC, and was awarded literary residencies at Yaddo, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA). She resides in Manhattan.