Historic windmill at Sylvester Manor raised

COURTESY SYLVESTER MANOR EDUCATIONAL FARM The Manor’s windmill was raised six feet, allowing for permanent footings to be installed.

COURTESY SYLVESTER MANOR EDUCATIONAL FARM
The Manor’s windmill was raised six feet, allowing for permanent footings to be installed.

SUBMITTED BY SYLVESTER MANOR

On July 13, 2018, the historic 1810 Dominy Windmill located in the farm fields of Sylvester Manor was raised six feet in the air. For the last nearly 100 years, the windmill had been sitting on top of loosely stacked boulders. By lifting the windmill permanent footings can be installed.

Once the foundation has been completed, the second phase will begin, which includes addressing structural and exterior issues as well as re-shingling. The third phase will focus on restoring the windshaft and blades, and the fourth and final phase will be to restore the mostly wooden machinery inside the mill to its fully functioning condition.

The ultimate goal is to fully restore and preserve the windmill so that it can be open to the public for viewing and educational programs, and its legacy as an operational windmill revived.

ANDREW FISKE PHOTO Sylvester Manor windmill with blades and sails in 1952.

ANDREW FISKE PHOTO Sylvester Manor windmill with blades and sails in 1952.

The windmill was originally built in 1810 in Southold by Nathaniel Dominy and moved to Shelter Island by barge in 1840. Around 1879, the mill ceased full-time operations at which time it was purchased by Lilian Horsford, a descendant of the original Sylvester family. It was her goal to save this part of Long Island history for future generations.

In 1926 Miss Cornelia Horsford, Lilian’s sister, moved the windmill from the center of Shelter Island, near the library and school, to its present location on Sylvester Manor. The Sylvester family has had a long history of stewardship on Shelter Island, the Dominy Windmill being but one example.

All funds raised to restore the windmill have been donated by supporters of Sylvester Manor. Sylvester Manor is thankful to its donors for their ongoing support of this project, and to the local builders and historic preservation experts working with the Sylvester Manor team to restore the iconic windmill.

The extended family of Sylvester Manor shares Lilian Horsford’s goal of maintaining this great machine of the agricultural age: a machine which turned raw farm produce into finished meal and flour to help feed a hungry nation.

About Sylvester Manor Educational Farm: Once a Native American hunting and fishing ground, Sylvester Manor has since 1652 been home to 11 generations of its original European settler family.

Over time, the place has been transformed from a slaveholding provisioning plantation to an Enlightenment-era farm, then to a pioneering food industrialist’s estate and today to an organic educational farm responsive to, and supported by, neighbors and friends worldwide.

In light of this history, we envision a farm, a community and a world where people celebrate food, arts, and inventiveness in the everyday, with a spirit of fairness and joy. For more information, visit sylvestermanor.org.

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