October 04, 2006
Name the 11 windmills on the South Fork. Can't do it? Neither could the East Hampton Town Board. At a recent session, town crier and village historian Hugh King quizzed board members, and they were hard pressed to articulate all 11.
There's a mill on Shelter Island, one on Gardiners Island, one in Water Mill, and one in Bridgehampton. South-ampton Village harbors a mill, as do the grounds at Southampton College, the Georgica Association in Wainscott and Further Lane in East Hampton Town. Often listed as a windmill, the structure in Sag Harbor is actually a faux mill. East Hampton Village boasts three mills and will celebrate the historic structures on Saturday with its annual Historic Windmill Day.
At 3 p.m. visitors can tour the Gardiner Mill located near the cemetery at town pond and the Pantigo Mill found behind Home Sweet Home Museum. The Gardiner Mill is only open by appointment, so this is a special opportunity, King pointed out.
The Pantigo Mill was originally built on a rise on Mill Hill Lane, King said. According to letters he's researched, the arms of the mill "scared the horses" so the mill was moved to a site off Egypt Lane. In 1917 it was brought to its current home.
Of the three mills in the village, Hook Mill is arguably the Big Kahuna. Like a sentinel above the green on Main Street, it's the most complete of the ancient structures, with arms that still spin. This week, weather and especially wind permitting, those arms will turn, as passersby enjoy the nostalgic look of unfurled sails.
The three mills in East Hampton Village were designed with a special gear that allows the cap to turn and capture wind from any direction. Over time, however, the wood in the Hook Mill has warped so turning is no longer possible.
Want to know more about East Hampton's historic mills? Check out Historic Windmill Day in the village from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For details, call 324-0713.