Mill On The Move

By: Tim Wood

Topics: Local History

The effort to save this 1930s-era windmill-shaped cottage led Ellen Briggs to form Protect Our Past, which aims to preserve historic buildings. It's first project is a documentary film focusing on saving old buildings. FILE PHOTO

CHATHAM – The iconic windmill on Briggs Way overlooking Chatham Harbor took a little trip the other day.

Crews from Sylvester Building Movers wrested the 77-year-old windmill from its stone foundation and ever-so-carefully and slowly transported it a short distance away to a corner of the property.

The windmill – never a working mill but built as a summer home by Herbert Briggs in about 1930 – is under a demolition delay imposed by the historical commission. The remainder of the building to which the mill was attached, deemed not to be historically significant, was demolished.

Ellen Briggs, niece of Herbert Briggs, watched the process with fascination.

“It's intact,” she said, praising the contractor for the patience needed to move the structure. She said the mill's chimney and fireplace had to be removed, and the interior of the mill will require some serious restoration once it reaches its final destination.

Briggs grew up spending summers at the windmill cottage, which sat along the Chatham Harbor waterfront and has long been a landmark for mariners.

She hopes that destination is the rear of her family's property just around the corner from where the mill currently sits. The current owners of the mill, Briggs Way LLC, is working with other neighbors to get clearance to continue the structure's move along the private way to its destination in Ellen Briggs' backyard, where she hopes to restore the structure.

The 18-month demolition delay runs through next March.