Phase one of a restoration project on the Roslyn Grist Mill...

Phase one of a restoration project on the Roslyn Grist Mill was completed Tuesday with the lowering of the 18th-century landmark into new foundation. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Preservationists working to restore the centuries-old Roslyn Grist Mill celebrated a milestone Tuesday when the structure was lowered onto its new foundation and temporary steel support beams were removed.

The event marked the end of the first phase of the renovation, which lasted about three and a half years, and focused on the construction of a new foundation. The rotted timber beams were taken to Vermont to be restored and portions were integrated into the new foundation, workers said. 

Officials celebrated the occasion Tuesday morning near the grist mill, which they hope, once the restoration is finished, will serve as an attraction to both residents and tourists.

“They say it takes a village to raise a child; well it takes a great community to raise and lower a grist mill,” Howard Kroplick, co-president of the Roslyn Landmark Society, said while addressing a crowd at the event.

The Dutch-framed water mill, built between 1715 and 1741, operated for more than 150 years before serving as a teahouse from 1920 to 1974. It is one of the last water mills of its kind in the country.

In 2015, the nonprofit Preservation Long Island added the grist mill to its list of endangered historic places. They have been working alongside stakeholders to renovate the 18th-century industrial building.

Alexandra Parsons Wolfe, executive director of Preservation Long Island, lauded the community’s effort to restore the property and said “when it all comes together it’s like magic.”

The restoration project began in 2018 after more than $3 million in public and private funds were raised for repairs. Jennifer Lister, the landmark society’s executive director, said Tuesday that the first phase cost about $4 million and noted that the landmark society has raised more than $5.5 million for the project.

“Phase two is the roof, the rafters, the roof’s structure, windows, doors, the interior and exteriors and getting the building somewhat together,” Lister said.

The estimated total cost of the project is $7 million. The second phase will cost about $2 million.

In 1986, the building was put on the National Register of Historic Places.

Roslyn Village Mayor John Durkin stressed the significance of the grist mill and said it keeps people connected to history.

“This building is the center of the heart of our village, and it will continue to grow,” he said. “It will be a landmark forever.”

The Dutch mill is owned by the county, which officials noted on Tuesday has invested about $2.5 million in the project, according to Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman.

“We are very proud of that investment because this is a way to secure a historical site that couldn’t be replaced otherwise,” Blakeman said. “Money can’t buy what you have here.”

Lister said they are currently in the design phase of the second part of the restoration, which is expected to begin in September.

With 2024 being Nassau County's 125th anniversary, Blakeman issued the preservationists a challenge to have the building open and running by next year.

Roslyn Grist Mill restoration

Phase one of the restoration has been completed, as all cribbing and steel support beams are removed, and the mill was lowered onto a newly restored historic timber frame.

Phase two is expected to begin in the fall and will focus on the roof, the rafters, the roof’s structure, windows and doors of the building.

The building could open to the public in 2024.

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