Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hook Mill

Last week I had the opportunity to watch as a crew from the East Hampton Village Highway Department began the process of renovating the 1806 Hook Mill. Major repairs are under way and they were taking down the arms one at a time and laying them on the ground to check for stress and wear on each one. In addition to the dozen men that were surrounding the mill and working lines to keep the arms in balance as each additional one was removed, there was someone working from the bucket of a cherry picker which was hovering around the main shaft that held the arms in place.

In addition to being amazing examples of engineering, these early examples of how our ancestors lived in East Hampton impress us with another fact: they were built in the back yards of their creators, disassembled, moved piece by piece to the place they would stand, and then reassembled. And it was done without a cherry picker. How did they do it?

I love the history of East Hampton. I love the fact that we can look at wonderful artifacts like the Hook Mill and wonder at the ingenuity of the people who created a community we love today. I can imagine my great-great grandfather taking his grain to be ground at the Hook Mill, or assisting in the building of it. He may not have done either of those things, but as a blacksmith he very well could have made repairs to some of the metal straps that held those arms in place. And it's somehow comforting to make the connection to how life in East Hampton was 100 years ago.


Kathleen said...

Having a smidgeon of Dutch in my background (the Loper line) and the rest of me quite English, I've always felt an affinity to windmills. I was thrilled when I first saw the arms of the Hook Mill turning, with the sails unfurled. I miss them. The only ones here are the farm type, which I also happen to love, but not the way I feel when I see those in EH.
There are wonderful watermills here, though. Like you, the history of places, the ingenuity of the people of the time, intrigues me. Simple folks with simple tools,much determination & imagination built our country. Thank Heaven some of that handiwork has survived!

Anonymous said...

this is why i so enjoy reading your blog. makes me giggle to watch shows like "real housewives of new york" and watch them prattle and snark about their social dilemnas in "the hamptons". a solution to their social dilemnas is to come to east hampton and find the next historic spot in east hampton that they might consider raising money for in order to restore it. i'll drink my champagne to that. the heck with a skinny girl margarita! save the historic treasures in east hampton, people!