THE WATER MILL: Our Namesake
Built in 1644 on Mill Creek by a prosperous English colonist, Edward Howell, to mill grain. From the beginning, the operation of the mill was dependent on keeping the water level of Mecox Bay low, which was achieved by cutting the same kind of channel the Indians cut (they called it a “seapoose”) from Mecox Bay to the ocean.
The Water Mill quickly became the social and economic heart of the community. Over the years, it had many different owners and, many uses: for fulling and dyeing wool cloth, manufacturing paper, ice storage, ice cream making, even as a tearoom and cooking school. In 1968, the Water Mill Ladies Auxiliary began to restore the building as a museum and revive it as a mill able to grind grain once again. You can see it work along with many popular museum exhibitions. For a complete museum schedule, go to: www.watermillmuseum.org.
THE WINDMILL: Our Landmark
Everyone driving through Water Mill on their way east or west knows us by the wonderful windmill that has adorned our Village Green since 1813. Actually, James Corwith moved it there from what is now North Haven to replace a windmill that had been destroyed by a storm in 1811. He bought it for $750 and installed it with two millstones, one for grinding corn and the other for wheat and oats.
When a sprawling summer mansion (now known as the Villa Maria) was built across the road, it was claimed that it cut off the prevailing wind and the windmill ceased to grind in 1887. A few years later, Samuel Corwith sold the windmill to the mansion’s owners. In 1931 the property and the windmill were acquired by the Order of St. Dominic, which took over the main property but generously deeded the windmill along with its site to the Water Mill Village Improvement Association, which currently maintains the windmill and our Village Green.
WHERE CAN YOU BUY THE WATER MILL BOOK?
Water Mill: Celebrating Community
The History of a Long Island Hamlet
An intimate and charming history of our 360 year-old hamlet told by its farmers, merchants, postmasters, teachers and history buffs and illustrated with photos from their treasured family albums. ($30 hard cover, $18 soft cover). For a copy, call the Water Mill Museum 726-4625.