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Price tag rises on windmill fix-up

The village of East Hampton is having to

The village of East Hampton is having to pony up additional funds to restore Hook Mill. Credit: Erin Geismar

The restoration of the historic Hook Windmill in East Hampton was to have been completed by now. But workers found additional deterioration within the beams of the windmill.

Repairs on the windmill, built in 1806, began in the spring, said Robert Hefner, historic preservation consultant for the village. The blades were taken off the windmill, and it was jacked up to repair the foundation and replace the bottom portions of seven of the eight corner posts.

Hefner said that while working on a section of post on the southeast side of the windmill, workers discovered that the tenons -- the interior portion of a mortise and tenon joint in the beam -- had deteriorated.

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“It was deterioration that you couldn’t see before the walls were disassembled,” Hefner said.

On Friday, the East Hampton Village Board approved an additional $9,950 to purchase timber from Connecticut to finish the job.

Village Mayor Paul Rickenbach said there have been a few small, added expenses along the way, and with the discovery of the rotted tenons, the cost of the restoration is about $208,000.

Hefner said the goal is to complete the work by early spring, but that the quality of the work is the main concern.

“The last time this windmill was worked on was around 1936,” he said. “So the quality of work and making thorough repairs is what this is about.”

While East Hampton residents wait for the blades to be reaffixed to the community landmark, the village borrowed an old treasure to bide some time.

A mini-windmill now sits in front of the disassembled Hook Windmill. Meant to replicate the historic figure, the mini-mill was built by lifelong East Hampton resident Dick Wood, who died in 2008. He built the windmill for a parade float during the 350th anniversary of East Hampton Town in 1998. The windmill had been at his home in Springs since then.

Wood worked in construction before eventually joining the East Hampton Village Department of Public Works, said Rickenbach. Wood retired in 2005.

“We thought it was a nice gesture to place it back there in the interim,” Rickenbach said.

Janet Wood, Dick Wood’s widow, sent a note to the village board recently, thanking it for displaying the windmill.

“The windmill looks great,” she wrote. “Thank you for displaying it. Dick would be so proud.
He enjoyed his years with the village and only regrets he didn’t get to work there sooner.”

Full-size image of the windmill

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