Brewster Windmill
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Old Mills in the United States

Brewster Windmill
aka Higgins Farm Windmill
Brewster Windmill, Brewster Massachusetts - Exterior
 
History

Brewster’s Windmill, also known as, Old Higgin’s Farm Windmill, was originally located at Route 6A and Ellis Landing Road, in Brewster. The windmill was moved 100 yards toward Cape Cod Bay and away from the road because the sound of the sails scared horses as they passed. About 1890, it was moved to Ellis Landing Road onto the Roland Crosly Nickerson Estate. Here it functioned as a clubhouse at the golf course. Mrs. Samuel Nickerson gave the mill to the Brewster’s Historical Society. In December 1974, the windmill was transported down Route 6A on a flatbed trailer to its present site, 6 miles from its original location.

Brewster’s Windmill is now found on 1.35 acres, donated to the Brewster Historical Society by Mr. And Mrs. Lewis McGowan, owners of the adjacent Drummer Boy Museum on Route 6A. The Windmill, built in 1795, was restored in July, 1976, with a matching grant from the Massachusetts Bicentennial Commission.

Brewster’s Windmill has an advantageous location for windmill enthusiasts because it sits in an open field and is visible from the road. The Historical Society certainly met the requests of Mrs. Nickerson when she gave them the windmill. She asked that the windmill be restored, preserved and open to the public. It has been authentically restored, meticulously preserved, well maintained and easily accessible to the public. The octagonal, 20-foot diameter base supports a revolving cap that was constructed with curved timbers similar to a hull of a ship. Pulling the tail pole rotates the revolving cap. The tail pole is attached to a wagon wheel on the ground. It is pulled by a horse, ox or human so that the masts face into the wind. The entire mill stands 30 feet tall.

The interior of Brewster’s Windmill is just as fascinating as the impressive exterior. This windmill’s equipment has also been preserved. The interior consists of three floors. The top level houses the brake wheel and allows access to the curved timbers in the cap so that they can be greased periodically to allow the rotation movement of the cap. The middle floor houses the original five-foot diameter millstones. The ground floor has a bin that holds the ground meal. Here is also found the frame supports for the three tons of millstones.

A unique character of this mill is the presence of a corn cob cracker on the first floor which is used to make animal feed and fertilizer. Other interesting attributes that are intrinsically characteristic of the Brewster Windmill are the rare ship carvings on the feed bin. These carvings, called scrimshaw, were often found on ships created by sailors. There are many characteristics of the Brewster Windmill that indicate that a ship builder constructed it. The windshaft is designed like one that holds a mast. The curved timbers in the cap and the pegged floor are also indications that the builder of this mill was a seaman.

A visit to the Brewster Windmill will be most rewarding. Brewster’s Windmill, also known as, Old Higgin’s Farm Windmill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 10, 1975. (Fredrika A. Burrows)

Brewster Windmill, Brewster Massachusetts - Exterior
Photographed in November 1990
Brewster Windmill, Brewster Massachusetts - Exterior
Photographed 1996
Brewster Windmill, Brewster Massachusetts - Exterior
November 1990
Brewster Windmill, Brewster Massachusetts - Exterior
Brewster Windmill also know as Higgins Farm Windmill is located in Drummer Boy Park in Brewster MA.
This view depicts four large arms, a massive tail piece and a wooden wheel.
"Putting your shoulder into it" is a saying that is from a miller roll the wooden wheel around to move the cap and allow the arms and masts to face the wind. Often millers would incorporate other beasts of burden to pull the weight of the tail piece, cap and arms
.
Brewster Windmill, Brewster Massachusetts - Interior - Bullwheel, Pinion Gear, Wooden Teeth, Drive Shaft, Wind Shaft
This is the bullwheel that is meshing with the wooden pinion gear. The wooden pinion gear is connected to the drive shaft also known as the spindle. The drive shaft / spindle is attached to the eye of the runner mill stone.
Brewster Windmill, Brewster Massachusetts - Interior - Bullwheel, Pinion Gear, Wooden Teeth, Drive Shaft, Wind Shaft
The bullwheel is located in the top portion of the windmill inside the cap.
Brewster Windmill, Brewster Massachusetts - Interior - Bullwheel, Pinion Gear, Wooden Teeth,  Wind Shaft
See Labels Below
Brewster Windmill, Brewster Massachusetts - Interior - Bullwheel, Pinion Gear, Wooden Teeth, Interior of Cap, Wind Shaft
There is also a brake that stops the bull wheel from turning.
Brewster Windmill, Brewster Massachusetts - Interior of Cap, Wind Shaft
This depicts the interior of the cap, the round wind shaft and the curb.
The curb is where there is black grease located at the bottom of this photo.
The curb is found at the bottom of the cap and the top of the mill structure.
The curb is where the cap is moved around by the tail piece to place the masts and sails into the wind.
Brewster Windmill, Brewster Massachusetts - Interior - Corn Sheller, Timbers and Paneling
Corn Sheller.
The wall exhibits old timbers and siding that can be over 218 years old.
Brewster Windmill, Brewster Massachusetts - Interior - Curb and Cap
Nice shot of the curb. Above the black grease is the cap and below the grease is the mill stucture.
Brewster Windmill, Brewster Massachusetts - Interior - Display Pinion Gear,
This is a display of the pinion gear. The pinion gear's center is attached to the drive shaft.
The cogs are then meshed with the bull wheel.
Brewster Windmill, Brewster Massachusetts - Interior - Hook and Crane
Hook and Crane
The hook is attached to the eye of the runner stone. The crane lifts the runner stone up and flips it over.
The runner stone and the bedstone are then sharpened and dressed.
Brewster Windmill, Brewster Massachusetts - Interior - Large Screw for Hook and Crane
The large wooden screw adjusts the hook and pulls the runner stone up and off of the bedstone.
Brewster Windmill, Brewster Massachusetts - Interior - Drive Shaft aka Spindle
The Drive Shaft aka Spindle
The drive Shaft is attached at the top with the pinion gear and the eye of the runner stone at the bottom.
Brewster Windmill, Brewster Massachusetts - Interior - Mill Stones, Hopper, Shoe, Millstone Cap
Brewster's Windmill has a functioning set of mill stones exhibited here with the top of the hopper, shoe and damsel. The millstones are partially covered with the millstone cap or cover.
Brewster Windmill, Brewster Massachusetts - Interior - Closeup of Millstone Eye and Shoe
Closeup of the millstone eye and the shoe.
Brewster Windmill, Brewster Massachusetts - Interior - Miller on Duty
Miller on Duty
Click Here for Brewster Historical Society (508) 896-9521
Brewster Historical Society Address: 3171 Main Street,, PO Box 1146, Brewster, MA 02631
Brewster Windmill Hours: 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday from late June through Early September.
Directions: On 6A in Brewster. It is on the north side of the road next to the Drummer Boy Park
Brewster Windmill Address: 51 Drummer Boy Road, Brewster, MA 02631
Click Here to View Brewster Windmill at Google Maps
Bibliography:
The Brewster Historical Society 3371Main Street PO Box 1146, Brewster, MA 02631
(508) 896-9521
Burrows, Fredrika A. Windmills on Cape Cod and the Islands Taunton, MA: William S. Sullwold Publishing, Inc, 1978. 64-68.
Cape Cod. Map. Rand McNally, 2000.
Paine, Joan. "Old Mill" Brochure. The Brewster Historical Society. Brewster MA 1996
Paine, Joan. Personal Interview. 6 June 1996.



 

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